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Croydon Youth Congress: Skills and jobs should be top priority

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Hundreds of youngsters who attended Croydon’s first Youth Congress told the council they see skills and training for employment as their chief priority.

Organised by the Croydon Strategic Partnership, the congress brought together young people from every secondary school in the borough, a wide variety of clubs, youth groups, and other organisations.

Dave Slade (pictured), a local student who is peer support officer for the East Youth Forum and Youth , said: “It was so great to see such a large diverse group of young people all striving to deliver something to Croydon.

“I will definitely be pushing for Youth Congress 2018 to happen and it will be lovely to see young people choosing what they want to happen in Croydon again.”

As well as jobs and skills, the congress also flagged up as key issues improved safety and the need to better address the needs of young people facing mental health problems.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety, and justice, said: “Croydon’s leaders are focused on what young people have told us at this event. We need to be led by young people and we need to understand their hopes and dreams.”

“As a council we’re determined to see that Croydon’s continued economic growth provides benefits for the whole community, particularly our population of young people, which is London’s largest.

“This day was a fantastic success, particularly because it made it very clear to us that aside from making Croydon a safe place, the number one priority for those present was ensuring they have access to the best jobs and financial success once they leave education.”