Young people’s views on Brexit

A year on from the vote to leave the European Union, academics from Aberystwyth University will be discussing the response of young people in Wales at a conference in London on Thursday 22 June 2017.

Dr Elin Royles and Dyfan Powel from the WISERD Centre for Welsh Politics and Society have been speaking to sixth form students across Wales and gathering their views on how Brexit might affect them.

The findings are based on interviews gathered for a joint research project with the University of Edinburgh, ‘Education, language and identity’.

They will be presented at the Young People and Brexit: One Year On conference hosted by the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods.

In addition, they will also present a short film of responses from young people recorded at this year’s Urdd Eisteddfod.

According to Dyfan Powel, Research Associate on the project, many young people are very unhappy they didn’t have a vote in the referendum.

He said: “The fact that many young people are angry that they didn’t have an opportunity to influence the outcome of the Brexit vote means that many of them have become more determined to become involved in the democratic process in the future. Perhaps we are already seeing this become reality with the increase in the number of young people who voted in the recent General Election.”

“Although many disagree with Brexit, young people in Wales are pragmatic, and are keen to respond positively to the decision and to see a process that benefits everyone.

According to Dr Elin Royles, the result has fed into a sense of a divide between the generations, and the view that young people’s ideas are different to those of older generations.

She said: “Young people do not enter into debates about anti-immigration, and it is their perception that these ideas drove the vote to leave amongst older voters who favoured Brexit. They also fear that such attitudes create a negative image of the United Kingdom internationally. ”

She added: “The research raises the question is there a need for more political education for young people to enable them to be more confident as they engage the political process, and also whether there is an opportunity for voluntary organizations to fill the gap left when European schemes such as Erasmus end.”

Following the session with Dr Elin Royles and Dyfan Powell, Professor Rhys Jones, Head of Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, and Catrin James the Urdd will discusses the role of the voluntary sector in shaping young people’s identities in the wake Brexit.

Young People and Brexit: One Year On takes place at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL. Proceedings commence at 10am and finishing at 5pm on Thursday 22 June 2017.