‘Young people don’t always know who to vote for’

Youth Takeover, a group of young people who organise events surrounding the arts in Spalding. ANL-150219-141915001
Youth Takeover, a group of young people who organise events surrounding the arts in Spalding. ANL-150219-141915001
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Young voters in South Holland will still be looking for work outside the district after the General Election in May writes student journalist George Barnett.

In spite of analysts predicting their vote could help a party win the election, they remain disillusioned with local job prospects – and some may not even turn out for the polls on May 7.

It is therefore surprising that, nationally, in December last year up to three million young people had not decided how to vote.

As a first time voter myself, I spoke to new local voters about what changes they feel are necessary in the voting process and how hopeful they are about their future career prospects.

Around this area, it’s not too hard to pick up either part-time or full-time jobs, but not always the type of job they have worked hard at school to qualify for.

A lot of young people feel their driving force to vote is so that they can have the faith that their future is in safe and reliable hands.

Hoping that there will be jobs available in their chosen field to easily obtain once finishing education.

Many said they will continue the trend of looking for jobs outside the area once they have finished their education as there is not much for them here.

Charlie Wallis, who is studying a Level 3 course at Stamford College and will be voting for the first time this year, said: “I vote because it enables me to be part of a process that can hopefully make a change.

“If you choose not to vote then you can’t expect anything to be different and if you need the help it’s important to have your opinion heard.”

Young people in South Holland say they are eager to vote and have their say, as it will be their future the voting process will have the biggest impact on.

Yet in 2010, only 44 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds chose to vote and historically this category has always received the lowest turnout.

When I asked why they thought the statistic of voters in this age bracket was so low, some believed that a percentage of young people didn’t know enough about politics to have their say, feeling that it puts people off if they don’t completely understand the process and find it all slightly intimidating.

Emer Scully is a Sixth Form student at Spalding Grammar School and part of Youth Takeover, a group of young people who organise events surrounding the arts in Spalding. She said: “It’s not a case of feeling intimidated, it’s more a lack of education about the process.

“There’s a list of so many different parties to choose from, young people don’t always know who to vote for.”

Other reasons included 
either forgetting about the day or not being bothered enough to vote.

Personally, I feel that the enthusiasm many young people have for voting is high and the younger generation has a much stronger voice and opinion than sometimes perceived by statistics.