Andy Burnham shares life hacks to help Generation Z make their voice count  

As summer holidays begin for many young people across the UK, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, visiting the NCS (National Citizen Service) Summer programme shared some key advice on how they can make a positive impact through social and political activism.

Speaking as part of an NCS summer workshop, he said: “You might feel cynical about politics and politicians. But your voice can change things, if you find the right issue and speak to it in the right way. If you know in your heart that something is wrong or that there is a better way to get something done, speak passionately about it, because your voice matters. You might not see now, sitting where you are today, how you get to a position where you can influence on a much bigger scale. Don’t let that for one second stop you thinking big about your life.”

He added: “Overcome those feelings of imposter syndrome if you have them, and don’t allow people to tell you or to make you feel that you should not be here. No matter who you are or where you come from, you can really make an impact if you speak from experience. Stick to things that you are passionate about and that you care about, they are the ingredients for success.”

His advice was offered as part of a speech and Q&A session for young people who have started their holidays on the NCS Summer 2021 programme. As part of a session called ‘Your Voice Matters’ held in Manchester, Mr Burnham encouraged the participants not to be intimidated by politics; to get involved with issues that matter to them, and to make their voices count.

Haiqa Shahid, 17, who is participating on the NCS summer programme in Manchester, said: “It was great to hear from Andy Burnham and to gain his insight into how local and national government operates so that young people have the best possible chance of doing well in life. Often as young people, we feel our voices aren’t heard. But through some of the advice and examples that Andy has shared, clearly our experiences are heard, if they are spoken about in the right way.”

NCS participant Mirian Omosigho Asoro, said: “I found his speech very passionate and motivating.  When I’m older I want to make a difference. I don’t want to leave this world knowing the world is corrupt. I want to make a difference especially for young people, and for people of colour.”

The NCS summer 2021 programme is delivered across the North West region by The Growth Company. NCS exists to engage, unite and empower young people, building their confidence so they can go out and make a difference, no matter where they’re from or what their background is. There are four phases of the programme this year: Be Epic, Live Life, Do Good and Go Party.

While the first phase of NCS Summer 21 is already underway, a limited number of places are still available over the coming weeks. Participants need to be aged 16-17 when they take part and joining the programme will cost them no more than £50, with bursaries available. To find out more and register your interest on the wearencs website.

More than 2,500 young people from across the North West – from Crewe to Carlisle – have already started the NCS programme this week, with a total of 6,500 from across the region signed up to take part. The scheme brings together young people from different backgrounds all across England, for a unique shared experience. It provides opportunity to mix with a new crowd, learn new skills for life, take on new challenges and build lifelong friendships along the way.

Teachers and education professionals are also invited to put forward their school and college students to benefit from the NCS programme.