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Youth Forum reveals Caerphilly young people put learning life skills as highest priority

Caerphilly County Borough Council offices

YOUNG people in Caerphilly County Borough want to be taught more life skills such as budgeting, living independently, car maintenance and British sign language.

Children and young people have identified learning life skills as their highest priority at the annual Youth Forum conference in January of this year.

Caerphilly’s Youth Forum invites those aged between 11 and 25-years-old to “have a voice”. Every year priorities for young people are identified in a borough-wide consultation and then brought to the conference.

The outcome of the conference was presented to councillors at an education scrutiny committee meeting on Monday May 17.

Brogan Mahoney, vice-chair of Caerphilly Youth Forum, said young people need “more opportunities” to develop life skills. The 17-year-old said this could involve a practical course where people learn to cook or a workshop on living independently.

Nelson councillor Brenda Miles said: “There is a role for some of these skills to be tackled in schools, but also they can’t fit everything into the school day, so to look for opportunities outside of the school environment to try and engage young people more in a community setting, I think would be the way forward.”

The need to raise awareness of the dangers and long-term effects of vaping was also highlighted as a second priority by members.

Chair of the committee, councillor Teresa Parry, said vaping is a problem in her ward of Hengoed.

She added: “It’s popularity has grown greatly and I think there’s a lot of peer pressure around that, but I do know the schools are tackling it head-on.”

Cllr Martyn James, who represents Ystrad Mynach, said: “I think what we need to do is take everything on board, embrace it, and support our young people in everything they do.”

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The Youth Forum is expected to attend a cabinet meeting on June 14  to present the issues identified and to propose ideas on how to address these during 2023.