A lost generation of youth
By Youssef El Hana
Today, I write to every single Gibraltarian, as a living example, and as the product of their humanity, opportunity, and inclusion. I am the immigrant child, who at birth was denied the right to live together with his family. A family, who had come to the aid of our Gibraltar at one of the most difficult times in our history. A child not protected by law but by the humanity of the people of Gibraltar.
That three-year-old, who was given a chance at life as a result of a cancer diagnosis, is standing as a candidate for the GSD at this year's general election. I stand tall and proud of being Gibraltarian, of my heritage and of every single one of you who made today possible. You all contributed with love, education, compassion and above all humanity in the creation of who I am today. Twenty-six years later I am ready, alongside a diverse GSD team to dedicate all of my energy, my abilities and my experience to the service of Gibraltar.
Hundreds of young Gibraltarians like myself, battle with a never-ending uncertainty about their future. When I say young people, I do not only speak of school age youth. This extends to people past the age of 30 and beyond who have been subjected to 12 years of demoralizing and frankly undignified conditions. From temporary schemes that offer no long-term prospects or job security, zero-hour contracts, a lack of vocational courses and no access to housing. The overlooked, qualified candidates in order to cater for jobs for the boys, corruption and so much more. Young people have found themselves stuck quite literally between a rock and a hard place.
Time and time again I speak to fellow Gibraltarians who have had to endure years of rejection, abandonment, and frustration. Whose lives have had to revolve around the ability to make it to the end of the month. Instead of being excited about the future, the prospect of new opportunities, and the safety of a dignified life for them and their families.
Today I reach out to you all with a message of hope, of trust and of commitment to you!
In order for us to move forward as a community we need drastic change. We need a comprehensive approach that focuses on the future fabric of our society, our youth.
Our commitment is to improving youth opportunities across the board. Enhancing apprenticeship programs. Collaborating closely with stakeholders to develop a wide range of apprenticeship programs in different sectors such as technology, hospitality, and construction. Something we will further strengthen by establishing partnerships with the College of Technology and Skills and the University of Gibraltar.
Not everyone will choose a traditional path of education, not everyone wants to take the academic route. We will ensure that apprenticeships and vocational training provide you with valuable practical skills and real-world experience for the future. We will also look into providing financial support and competitive grants for these alternative pathways as well.
Our community youth clubs are hubs of creativity, where young people develop their self-confidence, social skills, and take part in recreational activities. We as the GSD and as your future Government, are dedicated to helping young people get the best start in life. Supporting existing Youth clubs and establishing new ones will undoubtedly provide more positive platforms for young people and their aspirations.
The implementation of this comprehensive plan to improve youth opportunities in Gibraltar will require collaboration among government entities, schools, businesses, NGOs, and the community as a whole. This is a generational project that will see every single one of us shaping our collective future through our commitment to the Youth.
We decide on our future together on the 12th of October, and if like us you firmly believe that our young people regardless of background or socioeconomic status deserve a chance to live their best life. That opportunities should be for all and that no one is left behind, then I ask you to please make sure you cast your votes for all 10 GSD candidates.