Youth:Elect is Future Voice’s new programme launched in April 2015. Our first Youth:Elect empowered 30 talented individuals under 30s from marginalised backgrounds to stand in the Irish General Election in 2016. All of the main political parties in Ireland signed up to participate in the programme and we also had a number of independent non-aligned young people participating. The year-long empowerment programme built their confidence and skills. It was designed to have young people from marginalised backgrounds representing their communities and giving a voice to young people and the disadvantaged communities they represent.
We assembled a fantastic team to help us in this initiative. These included a leading organiser for the Barack Obama election campaign, as well as several social media experts, political campaign managers and other leading public figures who volunteered their time to help prepare our candidates to run successful campaigns during the next election.
We believe that it is vitally important to increase the level of youth representation in political life in Ireland. Ireland has one of the youngest populations in the EU but our rate of youth representation in politics fails to reflect this. The goal of this programme is to seek to bring more young candidates, of all political persuasions, into the Dail and to increase the level of youth representation in Irish political life to more representative of the country in which we live. We plan to hold similar programmes for future local, national and European elections.