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Robyn Graham - School Leavers Toolkit Speech

Below is the proposing speech by Robyn Graham, YSI National Organiser, on the School leavers Toolkit Motion which Successfully passed at SNP Conference. Check against Delivery.

Good morning Conference,

I would like to start by saying what a privilege it is to be speaking here today, proposing this highly relevant resolution.

50,000 Scottish school leavers – myself included - will this year will conclude their high school education, and begin to take the first steps towards their future.

Currently, the vast majority of schools are successful in supporting their pupils academically into the avenue which will suit them best.

These routes often differ, varying from college to university, employment or apprenticeships.

But regardless of school leaver destination, one thing remains the same. Soon, we will all encounter the exact same challenges that are presented when becoming a young adult.

My own high school education, though academically comprehensive, has left me in a position where I have never been taught vital life skills which are required when transitioning into adulthood.

When I move out of my parents’ home in September, I will have to learn how to set up a direct debit to pay my rent. I will be renting without having ever learned what to be wary of with deposits, leases and landlords. For the first time, it is essential that I know how to budget for the necessities.

Although everyday occurrences for all you adults in the room, when first encountered, these new experiences are confusing.

With the introduction of financial education, Scotland’s next generation of young people will enter adulthood financially literate, one of the key life skills which they will need when embarking on this next chapter of their lives.

Conference, young people of today face many additional pressures that our parents and grandparents simply never had to experience.

With the uncertainty of Brexit looming ahead – we are looking for stable careers to provide security in our futures and the futures of our own children.

But the employers of today look for more than a degree or the letters printed on your SQA certificate.

They want more.

They want well rounded individuals who can withstand the fast- paced society we live in. They want emerging leaders equipped with life skills needed to be successful.

Conference, young people would benefit with guidance on how to write a CV and cover letter.

We would thrive if we received tips of how to be successful in interviews. Some young people will face things like “assessment centres” and overviews, without having any clue what they are. Many of you will not understand these terms, so what do you think are the chances of a 16 year old school leaver?

We would flourish from knowing our rights as employees; how many hours of work am I legally allowed to do a week? How long of a break should I be receiving? Who should I turn to if I need help dealing with a difficult workplace situation?

Without this knowledge young people cannot possibly know to speak up if they are being taken advantage of. They may not even be aware that they are.

Conference, the independence referendum of 2014 helped to shape a more politically engaged and informed population, especially for young people.

It is essential that we build upon this to ensure that future generations follow this positive trend. By introducing education on our democracy, we will strengthen it in the process.

This will allow for higher voter turnout and more informed voting from the group of society who will ultimately be affected by the actions of decision makers the most. Afterall, it will hopefully be my generation who will shape an Independent Scotland.

While based on the success of the policy introduced by the New Zealand government, this resolution calls for a government review of existing policy.

Some schools, community groups and families already provide this support, but this approach varies across the country and there is no real consistency.

All school leavers should benefit from receiving these vital life skills, regardless of the stage of school when they leave, their ability, or who they have at home to turn to for assistance.

Many pupils are capable of developing these skills in parallel with their academic studies, but it is essential that there is support available for those with non-traditional home or family lives, who may need additional help.

That is why it is so important for there to be a detailed review, to establish the success and failings of existing policy, to understand how is best to support all of Scotland’s school leavers.

Conference, equip pupils with the skills and knowledge we need to successfully contribute out with the school gates.

Please support the resolution!

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