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Fair Futures Commission: 100 hours’ work experience before age of 16, vows council in flagship young people’s policy

PUBLISHED: 18:09 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:36 20 February 2018

The launch of a series of recommendations from the Fair Futures Commission to place at Arts and Media School Islington: (From left to right) Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, deputy chair Kadeema Woodbyrne, chairman Jermain Jackman, leader of Islington Council Richard Watts and education chief cllr Joe Caluori. Photo by Em Fitzgerald

The launch of a series of recommendations from the Fair Futures Commission to place at Arts and Media School Islington: (From left to right) Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, deputy chair Kadeema Woodbyrne, chairman Jermain Jackman, leader of Islington Council Richard Watts and education chief cllr Joe Caluori. Photo by Em Fitzgerald

Em Fitzgerald

“Putting young people in charge of their own narrative” is the chief aim of a commission bidding to transform the lives of those growing up in Islington.

The launch of a series of recommendations from the Fair Futures Commission took place at Arts and Media School Islington: (From left to right) deputy chair Kadeema Woodbyrne and chairman Jermain Jackman. Photo by Em FitzgeraldThe launch of a series of recommendations from the Fair Futures Commission took place at Arts and Media School Islington: (From left to right) deputy chair Kadeema Woodbyrne and chairman Jermain Jackman. Photo by Em Fitzgerald

The aspirations of the council-backed Fair Futures Commission, launched just over a year ago, were brought to life today as a series of recommendations were revealed at Arts and Media School Islington (AMSI).

A standout aim of the report is for every young person in the borough to have completed at least 100 hours of work experience before the age of 16.

Speaking at the meeting, Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn championed this “skills for life” section of the commission’s findings.

“So many young people in their 20s and 30s say to me: if only they had been taught some basic skills for life like opening a bank account, like how to rent a flat,” he said.

"These ground-breaking recommendations have been made so that Islington’s children people group up safe and happy in a supportive community."

Fair Futures Commission chair Jermain Jackman

The Labour leader also backed the report’s focus on “managing emotions”.

“Being a young person is wonderful and exciting,” he said, “but it can be a very lonely place where it’s difficult to say to anyone you have a mental health problem, because of the stigma attached.”

The 58-page report covers all manner of recommendations, ranging from consulting with children on major development proposals to reviewing the “unwelcoming” nature of “no ball games” signs dotted around the borough.

Former winner of The Voice Jermain Jackman, who has been at the helm as chairman from the start, was at home talking at his old school.

“These groundbreaking recommendations have been made so that Islington’s children people group up safe and happy in a supportive community,” he said. “You are so wrong if you think this report is just the end of our ambition.

“We need to take these actions on board and I need to keep the promise I made at the launch of this event.”

More than 250 young people have contributed directly to the commission report, which will be ratified at an Islington Council meeting on Thursday, with councillors expected to respond by the summer.

Leader of Islington Council Richard Watts said: “There is an unfairness between the rich few in our borough and everyone else.

“We want to make Islington the best place in London to grow up. Our borough is going to change and we need young people to know that they are driving that. We need to shape our community around them.

“I do think we need a change in narrative. We spend an awful lot of time worrying about the 200 to 300 young people who spend their time doing the wrong kind of stuff – not the 41,000 young people in this borough who spend their time doing the right kind of stuff.”

The running theme of the morning was ensuring young people’s voices are heard.

Islington-born Kadeema Woodbyrne, deputy chair of the commission, said: “Professionals think, even with the best intent, that they know what is best for young people, but when they do this they often lose sight of the most important voice, which is that of the young people.

“We want to give young people in Islington a fairer chance in life and give young people control of their own narrative.”

To view the commission’s recommendations visit fairfutures.org. Any young people wanting to get involved can e-mail tania.townsend@islington.gov.uk.

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