The young people of Britain want humanity and unity amidst the chaos of Brexit negotiations that threaten the country with a NEET epidemic

 

Brexit, an inevitable product of our disenfranchised working class or a genuine wish to self-govern … whatever the reason, it has happened and, in the words of Theresa May: ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Their is no going back … what remains to do now is to see how we can, as a nation, pull this off without being sent back to the economic Dark Ages and how as young people, we can utilise Brexit to improve the prospects of the next generation.

One thing is clear, universities and further education will suffer. Academia is already reeling from the decision as many UK universities receive EU funding. This will potentially mean, in the long term, that further education will become more expensive, resulting in an even bigger educational gap between the rich and poor. This will naturally lead to a bigger demand in apprenticeships and alternative routes to employment. As many businesses are likely to tighten their purse strings, apprenticeships will be ever more harder to secure.

As such, the Government needs to step up and ensure that the impact on youth employment and education markets resulting from Brexit is mitigated through adequate governmental support. If this is ignored, we could be faced with a perpetually growing army of so-called NEETs …

One aspect of society that could act as an incredible buffer and recruiter is the growing entrepreneur sector. Young people with creative ideas are disrupting current, long-standing markets and creating thousands of jobs in the process. The Government needs to jump behind these start-ups and propel them forward. Major growth has always come from creative innovation and enterprise, not from moving money around. As the owner of a start-up myself, apart from the tech start-up scene, there is little active governmental support for such projects which risks destroying many micro-start-ups before they even have a chance to grow in this current post-Brexit climate.

A further issue of Brexit for the next generation is division. The EU and growing integration has allowed my generation to let go, for the most part, of racism and nationalism: two very hate-fuelled ideologies which we, generally, do not associate with. Many young people were born and raised in a multicultural society, largely owing to the EU — especially those living in the cities. We do not see different cultures as a threat to ‘Britishness’ or the EU as a foreign ‘invader’. We see humanity and unity. Brexit risks reinstating divisive ideals if they are not stamped out and handled by the Government now. The growth of racist incidents right after Brexit should be seen as a timely warning of what’s to come.

The most important element needed for Brexit to succeed is for the next generation to be consulted during negotiations. We need to stop outdated beliefs being at the core of negotiations. Instead, let the thoughts and input of the modern, engaged youth be the driving force for a new Britain; one that is independent, but inclusive and collaborative with Europe. The negotiation process will determine the type of Britain we, as the next generation, will inherit. It is our right and our duty to be involved.

So regardless of what we think of Brexit, we need to now move forward and deal with the situation given to us. This is why we, SHOUT OUT UK, have tasked ourselves with making sure that the next generation has a say on Brexit. Between June and October 2016 we are collecting policy contributions from young people across the UK, asking what they would want to see happen if they had a direct line with the Brexit negotiating team.

These contributions will then be put together by us in October 2016 and launched at the Frontline Club on the 17th of November 2016 as a policy booklet, entitled: Brexit, A Youth Prospective. This booklet, the next generation’s manifesto, will also be sent to members of the current Conservative Government and the Opposition — who ever that will be …

As the United Kingdom moves towards an uncertain future, young people will be the most affected by the decision to leave the European Union. It is imperative that their voice should be at the heart of negotiations.

Regardless of how you voted, Brexit is happening and no one can truly predict the backlash to such a move. One thing, however, is certain; it is time we listen to the next generation and include it in this very vital conversation.

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