Leadership and Democracy Week – APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN!

Dates: 16th-20th August 2021

Are you between the ages of 18-30 and interested in the UK political system?

In 2018, Faiths Forum for London introduced its first ever ‘Democracy Week’ campaign, initiated by the Cabinet Office and the National Democracy Week Council. The aim was to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to enter into politics. After three successful programmes, Faiths Forum for London and Faiths United Youth Network are launching the fourth annual ‘Leadership and Democracy Week’ from the 16th-20th August 2021.

This programme will provide young adults with the opportunity to engage with those who work at the heart of the British political system. The aim of the week-long programme is to encourage young people to engage in the democratic process.

The week will consist of workshops, talks and skill-building exercises led by politicians, activists and experts designed to build the experience and capabilities of our future leaders. This will include:

  • Social media workshops – tips on how to maximise your online engagement.
  • Public speaking workshops – learn how to amplify your voice.
  • Entry into politics – find out the best ways to enter UK politics.
  • Exclusive talks from influential politicians, campaigners and activists.

This is a fantastic opportunity to enhance your skillset, network with like-minded peers and learn from the professionals.

At the end of the week, participants will be divided into groups and given a mentor. Each group will be tasked with building a social justice campaign and pitching it to a panel of judges with the chance of winning funding to make their project a reality.

And it doesn’t end there! There will also be an optional in-person London-based social at the end of the week. All participants will also be added to an exclusive alumni network to provide further career support beyond the completion of the programme.

The Details:

Due to Covid-19, this year’s programme will be held entirely online over Zoom.

Timings:

  • Monday 16th, Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th & Friday 20th of August, 9:30 until 3:00/4:00pm with regular breaks.
  • Series of mentoring sessions on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of August from 6:00-7:00pm.
  • Pitch day on the 26th between 2:00-3:00pm.

Please see a more in-depth schedule below.

We are looking to accept between 20-30 participants who are available for at least three of the four days.

To apply, please fill in the application form HERE. Applicants will be invited to attend a short, informal interview.


Leadership & Democracy Week Schedule:

This year leadership and democracy week will be split into two core themes: politics and campaigning. Whether participants see their future in writing policy or influencing it, we can cater to those interests.

Whilst everyone will attend the first day, days 2-3 will have a more political focus and days 4-5 will have a campaigning focus. Participants have the opportunity to attend anywhere from 3-5 days for the week, so the programme can be more generalist or specialist depending on preference.

Day 1: Meet Your Team & An Introduction into Politics

9:30am -3:00pm

The first day of the programme is compulsory for all participants to attend. It will consist of group bonding exercises and team-building workshops. We will begin with a brief introductory session, followed by an opportunity for participants to exchange ideas and discuss the programme.

Participants will then get the chance to interact our first two expert speakers. A local councillor will offer their insights into grassroots politics and engaging with local community issues. Later, a senior civil servant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will build on this theme; exploring the relationship between central and local government, alongside introducing participants to the role that civil servants play in our political system.

The insights from the first day will give our cohort an initial glimpse into life behind the political curtain.

WORKSHOP – Group-bonding and political discussion

Our first workshop is concerned with breaking the ice. The participants chosen for this programme will have already proven their curiosity in the world of British politics. We want to turn that intrigue into active engagement! To get the discussion flowing, this workshop will touch on some of the generation defining issues of our day, which everyone will have an opinion on!

Day 2: Careers in Parliament

9:30am -4:00pm

Our second day will focus on the heart of British politics- parliament. This day aims to widen participants’ understanding of parliament beyond MPs, by hosting speakers who have pursued other careers that have taken them to Westminster. A Lord will explain their role in parliament and the function of the House of Lords whilst a former Director of an All-Party Parliamentary Group will shine a spotlight on the crucial cross-party dialogues that APPGs foster. Participants will gain an understanding of the skills, experience, and expertise they need to get their foot in the door of Westminster.

WORKSHOP – Virtual Tour of Parliament

The workshop for this day will be a ‘virtual tour’ of parliament, so that participants can gain a glimpse into the corridors of power. Participants will gain insights into the history of the building itself as well as the various rooms’ functions.

Day 3: Becoming a Member of Parliament

9:30am -4:00pm

The third day of the programme focuses on Members of Parliament. Participants will be able to hear from three speakers representing different parties who will be able to give distinct perspectives on the role of an MP. We have speakers from the frontbenches of the two main parties. They will offer their insights as constituency MPs and frontline politicians (Ministers) from the perspective of both the Government and the Opposition. To further broaden the perspective, beyond the traditional political parties, we also have a former Green Party MP candidate who will talk about their experience running an election campaign as a member of a minor party.

This is an opportunity for our participants to engage with those that have walked the campaign path, to learn from their experiences and understand how they can make a difference in their own constituency.

WORKSHOP – Mental Health and Me

A healthy and happy mind is the first step to a successful future! As important as work is, personal well-being should always be a priority. The limited social interaction of the past year or so has had a serious impact a many peoples’ mental health. Therefore, we have dedicated this day’s workshop towards encouraging participants to focus on themselves and their mental health.

Day 4: Build Your Own Campaign

9:30am -2:30pm

The final day of the campaign will involve participants constructing their own campaigns and competing to secure £300 worth of funding to bring their campaign to life!

Participants will have listened to veteran campaigners and learnt from their insights, but this is when the listening stops and the action begins! Working in groups, participants will have to collaborate to achieve their shared vision. Along the way, they will be guided by one of our mentors to help them build a campaign that changes society for the better.

The day will also feature a short summary of useful career websites available to participants and an introduction to our new Leadership & Democracy Week Alumni Network. The day will culminate with a guided walk around one of the Royal Parks, so that participants can socialise in a more informal setting.

WORKSHOP – Social Media Influencers

Nowadays, a campaign can grow quicker than ever through the digital space by establishing a solid social media presence. In this workshop, participants will be guided by a world-leading communications firm on how to maximise their digital presence. With their new-found skills our participants will be able to ensure that their political and civic voices are suitably amplified.

On completion of the week there will be a series of mentoring sessions on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of August, from 6:00-7:00pm.

Most importantly, pitch day for your campaigns will be on the 26th between 2:00-3:00pm.

Our New Leadership & Democracy Week Alumni Network

At the end of the programme, participants will be invited to join our alumni network, so we can keep in contact with them and so they can stay in contact with fellow participants they met during the programme. The alumni network will host a range of benefits including:

  • 2x Annual Internships at Faiths Forum for London- Each Summer and Winter, we will recruit an intern from our alumni network to continue to support their career development.
  • Monthly Career Talks- Talks from many speakers with similar backgrounds to those in Leadership & Democracy Week itself, former participants can broaden their understanding of the political sphere even further
  • Public Facebook Group- A group where we will post the latest job opportunities we come across and also a space for former participants to keep in touch with one another and keep their newfound networks alive
  • Direct point of contact– A member of our team will help with any career mentoring, CV assistance or general career advice for those who ask for it
  • Support for future projects- If former participants think of an exciting campaign idea in the faith space, they can use the skills they learned at Leadership and Democracy Week to pitch the idea to us. If we see potential, we will help them make their project a reality!
  • Insights into Religious Communities through Day Trips- We will give alumni the opportunity to broaden their horizons by introducing them to religious communities that they have not interacted with before.
  • Annual Meet Up- We will provide annual guided walks much like the final day social during the programme. Participants will be able to catch up with old friends, meet Faiths Forum staff and enjoy some food and soft drinks whilst socialising.

If you are interested in applying, please fill in the application form HERE

N.B Speakers will be released in the run up to the programme start date.