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About The Youth Assembly

What is the Youth Assembly?

The Northern Ireland Youth Assembly is a group of 90 young people from years 9 to 12. 

How were the current Members selected?

Recruitment was carried out using an enhanced random selection process. Firstly, all applications were anonymised, then 54 members were selected on a constituency basis to ensure geographic spread i.e. three Youth Assembly Members from each of the 18 Assembly constituencies. The final 36 young people were selected anonymously to ensure a representative group in terms of section 75 categories such as gender, religious background, race, care experience, disability and so on.

What do Youth Assembly Members do?

Be Part of a Diverse Team
As a Youth Assembly Member, you’ll join a diverse group of 90 young people from every corner of Northern Ireland. It’s a unique blend of backgrounds and perspectives, and you’ll be right at the heart of it.

Engage with Decision Makers
This is your platform to communicate directly with key decision-makers. It’s about voicing your concerns, sharing your insights, and influencing the issues that matter to you.

Specialise in Areas of Interest
You will have the opportunity to align with specific committees that focus on topics you’re passionate about. And remember, twice a year, the entire Youth Assembly meets for a plenary session in the Assembly Chamber.

Your Three Core Responsibilities:

  1. Engage with MLAs and Assembly Committees. Your insights are invaluable when it comes to new legislation or inquiries that may impact young people just like you.
  2. Delve into topics and issues you’re most interested in by joining specialised committees with other Youth Assembly Members. Whether it’s environmental concerns, educational reforms, or cultural initiatives, you’ll be at the forefront of these discussions.
  3.  Beyond the regular meetings, there are numerous youth-focused projects, events, and consultation opportunities. It’s about amplifying the youth voice and ensuring it’s heard at every levels.

How much time will I need to commit to the Youth Assembly?

Each year, you will have two main meetings or plenary sessions held in Parliament Buildings. This is when all Youth Assembly Members come together to discuss particular issues. These meetings will usually be held in the Assembly Chamber and presided over by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Attendance at these meetings is very important for all Youth Assembly Members. Whether the meetings are up in Parliament Buildings or happening online, we will give you plenty of notice to help you plan around your other commitments. 

Regular Online Engagements

Much of the Youth Assembly’s activities will take place online. The Youth Assembly Support Team will organise regular online meetings, drop-in sessions, and training. Typically, these online activities will be scheduled for the evenings. They will last around one hour, and be held once a month. 

Preparation is Key

Youth Assembly Members are expected to be proactive: regularly check emails, review materials before meetings, coming up with questions, taking notes, and occasionally preparing and delivering brief speeches. But don’t worry we will give you all the training and support you’ll need.

Will meetings and events be held on school days?

As far as possible, meetings will be held outside of school hours. We try not to meet during exam time and avoid meeting during the summer holidays.

The committee meetings, drop-in sessions and training activities usually take place online and in the evenings. Full meetings of the Youth Assembly (Plenary meetings) are held in Parliament Buildings on Fridays or Saturdays.

Will I get help with the cost of travel?

Yes. Youth Assembly Members can claim travel expenses when attending Youth Assembly meetings and events. Refreshments will also be provided for our face to face meetings.

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