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A young woman in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam a student think-tank advises on youth policies

In Amsterdam a student think-tank advises on youth policies

14 students from vocational education institutions get a permanent role in policy discussions

Amsterdam will involve young people in important policy matters such as education, discrimination in the labour market and the coronavirus pandemic. The Municipality announced on Wednesday that they have created a sort of a “youth think-tank”, composed of fourteen local MBO students (in vocational education and training), which will get a permanent place in policy discussions with city councillors and policymakers.

They will be given the chance to speak about issues affecting their own lives and suggest possible solutions.

A policy for young people designed with the help of young people

Fourteen VET students from Amsterdam with different study backgrounds will be the first members of a VET think tank in the Dutch capital. Their “term” runs from January until the end of the academic year with a frequency of meetings at least once a month.

Participating students, who have received the appropriate training in the fields of policy making, effective communication, lobbying or pitching, are more than enthusiastic to be able to shape municipal policies in important domains. Valeria, legal services and HRM student, quoted on the municipal website says “I want to mean something to the city. Thinking and helping to create a better future".

Some, like Kees, enterprising furniture making student, are more critical: "I miss certain things in my education, I would like to be made to think outside of my study".

Qichell, event production student, was even more vocal about the current state of affairs: “I see a lot of things going wrong in education. Lots of old people who decide about us. Young people must represent themselves”.

For young people, the barriers to entry on the public policy arena are often high. Yet, local policy, as unattractive as it might seem sometimes, has a major impact on their lives, in the opinion of the authorities.

They are confident that young people can make a difference in their own city, school or neighbourhood, but this must happen in an organized way. Therefore, the MBO think tank, was established to give them the platform to do so.

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