Local young people take over the council

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This year’s annual Youth Takeover Day was the largest ever run by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, with more than 120 teenagers working and sharing their views across a wide range of departments.

Angelei Monterola, Anisa Yusuf, Hani Abtidon, Jenna Marshall, Nadea Musharraf, Tamanna Karim and Wiktoria Dabek worked with the borough’s communications officer to write this report of the day.

A world of work and opportunities greeted young people for the annual youth Takeover Day event.

Friday (20 November) marked the fifth anniversary of the event for Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

The event engaged more than 120 teenagers from 10 different schools and youth services across the borough in around 30 jobs including parks police, social workers, librarians, and communications workers.

Young people aged 13-19 from schools including Phoenix High School, Sacred Heart High School, Burlington Danes Academy, Bridge Academy and Hammersmith Academy took part.

Belen Davila, 13, from Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith, said: “I enjoyed speed meeting, I learned a lot about employees and they gave me great advice to help me grow up into a great person.”

And India Francis, 14, from Phoenix High School in White City, added: “I think that Takeover Day is important because it teaches young people how the council works and how important every job is.”

Takeover Day was launched by the Children’s Commissioner in 2007 to allow young people to experience work and to voice their opinions.

“The world we are shaping now will be enriched by the views of younger people,” said Cllr Caroline Needham, chair of the Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee.

While Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE said: “It’s a great experience for all involved and it gives young people a chance to experience the world of work while also giving the organisations the chance to benefit from the fresh perspective that the children bring.”

This year is the biggest ever for H&F and has grown from 30 young people to its current size.

Maria Rozycka, 14, also from Sacred Heart, pointed out it was ‘nice learning about other jobs in the council’.

And Zak Chaudhry, 14, from Hammersmith Academy in Shepherds Bush, said: “The views from the roof were amazing and I’m glad I got to experience it. It’s something we don’t normally do.”

The day concluded with a celebration event for all the young workers, during which they received a certificate from the Mayor of H&F, Cllr Mercy Umeh.

Brenda Whinnett, H&F Council’s youth voice co-ordinator and Takeover Day organiser said: “Young people consistently tell us they don't get enough opportunities for work experience. Takeover Day gives young people a taster of different carers and the chance to experience the diversity of services the council delivers as well as influence them.

“They get a unique opportunity to add to their CV and we get the insight, perspective and ideas of the young people,” she added.

This year coincided with International Children’s Day and the event was attended by charity Children England’s strategic manager, Ade Sofola.

“Take over day is important because of the United Nations Children’s Rights Convention and International Children’s Day which is about having children’s voices heard,” she said.

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