A royal reception in Cambridge

The Prince of Wales met with a group of students to discuss youth employment and the Essay Competition.

On Monday 18 February, Prince Charles was given a royal reception by students taking part in a day-long seminar at the Pitt Building in Cambridge.

Taking the 2013 Commonwealth theme ‘Opportunity though Enterprise’ as inspiration, the students, aged 12 to 18-years-old, discussed the challenges and opportunities currently facing young people in the UK and the wider Commonwealth. Schools that took part included Hellesdon High School, Norfolk; Impington Village College, Cambridge; Parkside Community College, Cambridge; Southfield School for Girls, Kettering; and Westminster Academy, London.

This year’s Commonwealth Essay Competition takes ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’ as its theme. With essay topics such as ‘Discuss one or more examples of social and/or environmental development where enterprise plays, or could play, a key role in changing the way people live’ and ‘Is change a good thing?’, participants have been invited to explore the theme with real life examples. Beyond this, the competition acts as an avenue for young people to connect with the Commonwealth, and encourages participants to develop their opinions, giving them a platform from which they can discuss issues affecting them and their one billion peers across the 54 nations of the association.

The challenge of the ‘youth bulge’ is an increasing problem in the Commonwealth, with 60 percent of Commonwealth citizens under the age of 30 years old. Equipping young people with enterprise skills that will allow them to become job creators, as well as job seekers, is a vital step for Commonwealth countries that need to address the growing population. February’s workshop was a small step in this direction.

Facilitated by Youth Business International, Mosaic, the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Youth Programme, the day consisted of workshops on the Commonwealth, employability and the Commonwealth Essay Competition. Having used the competition as a vehicle to explore different ways of expressing their views, students were then invited to deliver a presentation on tackling youth unemployment in the Commonwealth to the Prince, who attended the last session of the day.

Run by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883, the Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest and largest schools’ international writing competition. For 2013 the competition is being run in partnership with Cambridge University Press. For more information visit the website at: www.thercs.org/youth/essay.


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