- Youth Engagement
- Promoting NL
- Quality of Life
- Culture & Diversity
- Incentives to Stay & Return
POLICY DIRECTION 1: YOUTH ENGAGEMENT
The Provincial Government, young people, partners and communities will work together to create a province of choice in Newfoundland and Labrador. Together...
Strengthen our capacity for youth engagement in public policy development, community planning, and democratic processes by:
- increasing opportunities for all young people to participate in the decision-making processes that will shape their future, as well as the future of their families, communities, and the province; and
- helping ensure young people are prepared to be actively involved as citizens, leaders, or partners to identify issues that impact them and to share responsibility for identifying and implementing potential solutions.
Priorities and Current Initiatives
Key priorities we need to consider...
- Young people think, communicate, and work together very differently than older generations. They are the "net-generation".
- All young people want to have a voice and can play a role in shaping the future of the province. Youth leaders play an important role in advocating youth priorities and interests. However, the most successful strategies and solutions will require the input and engagement of the diverse group of young people that live throughout the province.
- Real youth engagement occurs on an ongoing basis, at all levels of society. It is not a "one-of" deal or special event. It is a
way of working together to shape public policy, community development, and society in general.
Voter turn-out among young people for general elections is significantly lower than the general public both within Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada.
- Voter turn-out among young people for general elections is significantly lower than the general public both within Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada.
- The low level of youth engagement in democratic processes is a significant concern, but especially so among young women.
The Top Things You Need to Know about The Net Generation
The best place to meet them is face-to-Facebook.
In September 2006, there were 8.9 million users of Facebook around the world. Now there are over 175 million active users. In Canada, Facebook dominates all other social networking sites, with 63% of Canadians being registered Facebook users, and 83% of them are the 18-34 demographic. Atlantic Canadian numbers far exceed the Canadian average at an incredible 75% of the total population. (Source: Gardiner Centre, Netpop Research 2009)
Blogs are their news.
Nearly 80% of Net Geners under 28 regularly visit blogs, which is the most popular way to create and share information. Twenty-two of the most popular websites in the world are actually blogs, and those blog readers average 23 hours online a week. Net Geners are producers of their own news. (Gardiner Centre, Netpop Research 2009)
The Net Generation wants their work life to fit their lifestyle, not the other way around.
Quality of life means something different for this target, because it includes an inherent need for their work lives to be flexible. A 9-to-5 schedule is not necessarily desired. Most would like to be judged on performance and results first, and face time in the office second.
They're collaborative before competitive.
Today's workforce looks at the workplace very differently than their parents. The nature of their communication tools has afforded them opportunities for instant interaction, discussion and feedback. Our younger generation therefore sees work as a collaboration with colleagues - relationship-based and more dynamic in approach than just adhering to old structures and hierarchies.
Having freedom of choice is not only important but necessary.
There are millions of choices before this generation all the time, and everyone wants their attention. But when this generation knows exactly what they're seeking amongst all the clutter and choice, they'll do their homework. There are always other options.
Their voices will be heard.
Online forums, message boards, blogs, product reviews, article comments. these are all mini-soapboxes to give everyone a voice, and there's always an opinion to hear. If the Net Generation has opinions, rest assured, they'll let you know what they are.
They are digital wizards.
The technologies available and readily used by this generation are tools to connect, invent, create and share.
They seek out similar interests and viewpoints, and unite around them.
Community is at the heart of what online interaction affords this generation, and the like minds will seek each other out and come together.
They may actually be the smartest generation ever.
Knowledge truly is power for today's youth, and they pride themselves on being informed. The Internet is the library they carry with them at all times now, and if they don't know the answer, they know how to find it. Tapscott, Don. Growing Up Digital, 2009
Customization is identity.
Everything The Net Generation does is unique to them and their personal tastes - different cell phone rings for each of their friends, iPod cases, My Space profiles. Similarly, they customize the streams of information that they're interested in, signing up for newsletters or text blasts, or subscribing to RSS feeds from preferred news sources.
They require innovation as a part of their daily lives.
This generation is the constant creator of evolving web content. This group craves updates, newness, and the next best thing. Information that is outdated or stale is simply dismissed, so getting their attention requires being bold and innovative, and needs to evolve to be meaningful for them.
Speed is key.
The digital generation would probably communicate telepathically if they could. Everything is instant to them. The Net Generation doesn't have to wait to check their email when they can get back to their computer - that is, unless they forgot their phone. Of all NetGeners, 74% own a cell phone, the most powerful technology of all because it's becoming everything at once, and it's their main conduit to the world. Tapscott, Don. Growing Up Digital, 2009
Adapted from market research carried out for HRLE by The Idea Factory
We have a strong foundation to build on...
- Youth want to be involved, and to have a voice in shaping public policy. The Provincial Government has been building its capacity for citizen engagement.
The Provincial Government has been building its capacity for citizen engagement.
Community partners, including the Rural Secretariat Regional Councils, Regional Economic Development Boards, labour and employer organizations, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, and community members are committed to helping create a province of choice.
- Over 870 people and organizations (outside of the young people involved in the Dialogue sessions) provided feedback during the Strategy development.
The Provincial Government is already acting and rethinking approaches to increase participation in democratic processes.
- The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer is focusing on youth in its 2008-2011 Business Plan.
- The Department of Municipal Affairs recently launched the online MakeYourMark campaign for the Municipal Elections.
- The Department of Education has been promoting the Ready, Set, Vote! Campaign for School Board elections.
- The establishment of the Province's Office of the Volunteer and Non-Profit Sector and new investments of $1.1M in 2009/2010 are significant measures to strengthen relationships between the Province and the voluntary and non-profit sector, promote volunteerism and social enterprise, and enhance the capacity of the sector.
Actions to Support Youth Retention and Attraction
- The Provincial Government will build upon the momentum generated through the Youth Dialogue process and send a loud, clear message to the youth of Newfoundland and Labrador that the Province has committed to their ideas and priorities for creating a province of choice by designating a Minister Responsible for Youth Engagement. This Ministerial position will act as a champion for youth engagement, incorporating the youth voice on social and economic issues and policy, including youth retention and attraction; providing direction on the recommendation of strategies affecting young adults; advising departments and Ministers on programs and policy objectives; and representing the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on youth retention and attraction issues.
- This Ministerial position will be supported by an Office of Youth Engagement responsible for ensuring a coordinated approach among partners and departments in the implementation and ongoing development of youth retention and attraction strategies.
- A Youth Partnership Forum for recruitment and retention will be established. Members of the Youth Advisory Panel for the Strategy and Youth Advisory Committee, youth representatives from labour, business, and education, as well as young citizens from across the province will be invited to participate in a quarterly forum to discuss the Strategy progress, current and emerging issues, and potential actions that may be put forward for Government's consideration to support the ongoing development of the Strategy.
- An online Youth Portal will be developed and launched to provide a new communications tool for young people to engage with Government and put forward their ideas and priorities for youth retention and attraction and other issues. This web portal will also serve as a centralized access point to Government programs and services for youth. Visit www.youth.gov.nl.ca to get involved.
- A guide will be developed to support and encourage government departments and communities in applying a Youth Lens when developing program and policy development initiatives to support youth retention and attraction.
Together, these five initiatives provide the critical mechanisms necessary to coordinate and lead ongoing youth engagement activities in policy areas across government, community, and society. They provide the basis for a true youth partnership with the Provincial Government that will allow for flexibility in implementing and developing initiatives for youth retention and attraction as well as effective and timely responses to emerging youth priorities.
- We will create a Youth Engagement Guide for community partners, service providers, and other interested groups to help increase youth participation in their planning processes and initiatives.
- We will expand grants for youth to include a specific focus on Engagement and Leadership Development. These grants will provide opportunities for young people to participate in training and conferences that will help them develop the skills they need to fully contribute as members of local boards, agencies, and community groups. To find out more please visit the Harbour Breton Community Youth Network. To apply online click here.
- We will actively support community organizations in developing strategic plans to increase youth participation in their activities.
- We will actively promote and support the inclusion and participation of youth on provincial and regional advisory bodies and planning boards such as the Regional Economic Development Boards and Rural Secretariat Regional Councils.
- We will explore the feasibility of an Online Voter Registry System as an innovative way of reaching youth and encouraging their participation in the voting process. We will also support ongoing youth participation in election processes for local boards and organizations, including municipal elections and school board elections.
- We will support implementation of the "Experiences" program throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Experiences is a mentorship program that aims to increase participation of women in democratic processes by engaging girls (12-18 yrs) and young women (18-25 yrs) in learning and thinking about the impact of politics on their lives and how they might become involved.
Related Recommendations from the Canadian Policy Research Networks
Download the CPRN Report "Making Newfoundland and Labrador a Province of Choice"
- Establish a youth secretariat.
- Implement a government-wide program of online and in-person youth engagement.
- Apply a "youth lens" in developing and determining public policy.
- Increase opportunities within current civics education courses to develop student leadership skills.
- Draw upon the experience of dialogue and Summit participants whenever possible as ambassadors for change.
- Explore the feasibility of implementing an electronic voter registry system.
- Continue collaboration with the voluntary sector to expand opportunities to volunteer, and increase youth participation in volunteer work.
- Position all current youth retention and attraction policies, programs and services and all future activity to make Newfoundland and Labrador a province of choice for young people.
Quotes from Youth and Partners
"We are the destiny and future of this province, and we have a historical obligation to ensure our future. Government must take this seriously and must not simply rest and be satisfied that we were heard, but that our wishes are acted upon!"
"I really value the feeling that what I'm saying really is going to contribute to this change."
"Upon leaving, I felt like I did my part and felt included in decisions that will be made to benefit this province. I am excited to see what is to come...we can only go up from here."
"I know that the youths' voices of NL can make a difference, now that we have the chance to speak. I'm going home knowing that I may be a part of big changes to Newfoundland and Labrador."
"I am taking the self-satisfaction of actually being able to contribute my own thoughts and beliefs. I really enjoyed participating and believe we will make a difference in our province by being involved."
"This [youth engagement process] has also taught me all the great reasons why people (especially us youth) hould stay and live in Newfoundland."
"Creating a Province of Choice - A Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador". Available to download in pdf format.