Cardiff and Vale College students get engaged with political debate
Politicians from three of the leading Welsh political parties have visited Cardiff and Vale College to explain the importance of voting to students ahead of this week’s European elections.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives and AM for South Wales Central Andrew RT Davies, Vale Labour AM and Business Minister Jane Hutt and Eluned Parrott, the Lib Dem AM for South Wales Central and Shadow Transport Minister, all came in to the College. They held question and answer sessions with students on the Horizons course – an independent living skills course for young people with learning difficulties.
“Most, if not all of the students have never voted at an election before, although they are all eligible to vote,” Horizons Course Tutor Debbie Clark explained. “Some learners have not been involved in the voting system and I felt this would be an excellent opportunity to teach the importance of voting so I invited representatives of the main parties to visit the College at such short notice to meet with the students to explain the importance of voting and of voting at the European Elections.”
The three politicians took part in three lively debates with the students over a series of several days. Topics under discussion ranged from the importance of democracy and the collective power of the people, through to food prices, policing and crime, immigration, agriculture, the EU and public transport.
Andrew RT Davies said: “It has been a really good experience – it’s always great to come in to schools and colleges to talk to young people. After all, young people are seen as some of the most disengaged, politically when you think they’d be the most engaged! To able to come in here and speak has been good – the students asked a very wide range of questions and not just the narrow range that you might expect. It was great.”
Jane Hutt said: “This has been a really important opportunity not only to talk about the students’ right to vote in the coming Euro Elections but also to listen to their views about what affects them on a day to day basis, such as transport and the importance of their bus passes – this is something we strongly support in the Welsh Government.”
“I always like to come and talk to young people about the importance of democracy and how important it is to use your vote,” Eluned Parrott said: “It was a real pleasure to meet these young people.”