By Laurie Donaldson
Hi my name is Laurie, I am 15 and on my work experience at the “Scottish Youth Parliament”(SYP). As a young person with a very big interest in politics, I was very excited about the chance to work with the SYP as it is a democractically elected youth-led organisation which ensures young people’s opinions are considered in parliament and other decision making organisations across Scotland.
My experience at the Scottish Youth Parliament has been very interesting and enjoyable. On the first day I was given an introduction to my week and interesting and fun activities had been organised for each day. During my week I attended events at the debating chamber, Skills Development Scotland in Glasgow and I filmed a clip about my time at the SYP. I enjoyed all these activities and couldn’t wait to go back to the office the next day.
I was very excited to go into the debating chamber as my ambition is to be a politician so I listened intently as the debates went on and thoroughly enjoyed it. On the 4th day I was taken to Glasgow for a “Skills Development Scotland” event where I stood at the stand and talked to young people explaining what our campaign was and why we were there. There was a general buzz around the building so I was very excited about everything. On that day we got 300 responses from young people saying that they thought that people of all sexual orientations should have equal marriage rights. This really moved me as I thought that most people were very sceptical on this issue but most people seemed open to supporting the campaign. I was also given a number of tasks to complete such as: colour coding an SYP vote, filling envelopes of “love equally” postcards and filming a video about my experience and the curriculum for excellence. Steven, the Development Manager suggested that we make a video about my experience working here and also explaining what the curriculum for excellence was.
On my first day I started by having input in a “Jargon Buster” on the SYPs website which aimed to define complicated words to make them more youth friendly so young people could understand them by scrolling over the word. I even learnt new words! I then had a talk to the Chief Officer Hamira Khan about the representation of the youth parliament as compared to the other parliaments. I was surprised to find that the SYP have a very varied representation of members. Women represented 41% of the the SYP and Scotland’s population for 14-25 range has 51% male and 49%. This is very good in comparison to the Scottish parliament which has only 34% women. It also had a varied representation of the area’s people live in, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and disability. This is very good as it shows that the SYP can work with many different types of young people so will be more compassionate towards different young groups.
The staff were really nice and were always available to answer questions or have conversations, which created a warm lively working atmosphere. The SYP staff kitchen had a microwave so I was able to take in food and heat up so I had a more enjoyable lunch.
I really wanted to get into the SYP but unfortunately my interest had come a bit late as the elections had just taken place so I have to wait another 18 months before I can run for election. However an opportunity may have arisen to become MSYP representative for Scripture Union Scotland as I had many connections with them, so there is still a possibility I could become part of the SYP! I was gutted to be leaving this workforce because it was so fun and interesting and has strengthened my idea that I definitely do want to be in politics.
I really enjoyed my week and would recomnend anyone to sign up and consider doing their work experience placement here.