Since the foundation of the Global Shapers Hub in Launceston and the discussions we have during our meetings and gatherings, one issue keeps coming up time and time again.
No matter what topic or issue we are focused on, it is either something that is raised regularly or an issue bubbling below the surface.
Launceston has a challenge when it comes to relevant voices and leadership that reflects the community.
While across Tasmania, people aged between 18 and 34 make up 19.6 per cent of the total population, in Launceston it is 23.2 per cent.
That means out of the 65,000 people that live within the City of Launceston boundaries, more than 15,000 are within this age group – and while this is an easy statistic to calculate, we all know that Launceston truly spans multiple local government areas.
This is not an insignificant number – that means more than one in five people in our city is in this age group.
Once you know this statistic though, you have to ask the question of where this voice is gathered, raised up and given the opportunity to truly influence our community.
It has to be more than a tokenistic opportunity that is done to show that youth voices are given a platform, but where they are influencing and leading change.
It is important to state that Launceston is not alone in facing this challenge, and through our Global Shapers network which represents more than 400 cities around the world, we are learning more about how other regions have tackled this issue.
For some countries it is structural barriers that mean laws prevent young people holding leadership roles, but in others we have seen the challenges of culture that limit the aspirations of young people.
With more than one in five people in our city between the ages of 18 and 34, it is important that our city reflects this in everything we do – our brand, our identity and the voices that are leading our city.
We need to both be looking at opportunities to raise up potential leaders from all aspects of our community, not just those who happen to be in the right circles, and having an open space where young people raise their issues and know action will be taken.
There are youth-led organisations across our city who are playing their part in trying to change this, with a big focus on developing and leading in their own contexts.
However, more needs to be done – and the starting point is making sure that every young person with a voice can be heard.
At the Global Shapers Hub here in Launceston, we’re focused on gathering those who want to stand together between the ages of 18 and 28, to come together and join with 10,000 other Global Shapers around the world to improve the state of our world – and they are.
We need to stand up here as well to change the state of our community.
- Adam Mostogl is founder and curator of the Launceston Global Shapers Hub – a network of young people addressing regional and global challenges.