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They voted leave and we have to deal with it

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the British public voted to leave the EU. I believe that the outcome of the referendum surprised the entire world.  Nonetheless, the UK has voted to leave the EU and we must now deal with its fallout. But can the 18-24 year olds who voted to remain in the EU just get on and deal with the effects this decision has made to their future plans? Following the news to leave the EU young people expressed their disappointment on social media. My Facebook page was filled with dissatisfied young people who blamed older voters for taking them out of the EU.

With the decision to leave the EU, the future seems uncertain for many young people. For instance, what effects will leaving the EU have on our education? Will UK students still be able to study on the continent under Erasmus? Right this minute the answer is still yes; however, there could be some limitations. In addition, our decision to leave the EU could affect future career prospects of young graduates in the UK. Right now, I could move to Belgium and relocate with ease. I wouldn’t need any work permit or visas to do this – well maybe just a pocket size French or Dutch dictionary. With our decision to leave the EU, this will also change. I feel that this will negatively affect a lot of young people ability to settle in other countries in Europe or hinder their career pathways that are linked with other EU states. For instance, I have a friend who studies chemistry and he always talks about how he plans on moving to Germany straight after his degree in order to pursue his passion for science. Personally, I think it is very sad that we could be missing out on so much educational, cultural and social experiences just because some people do not want “all these immigrants coming in and taking our jobs”.

To conclude, I think the future for young people needs to be considered heavily in the UK’s exist talks from the EU. Most importantly, I really hope that the outcome of the EU referendum will encourage more young people to see the importance of politics in their lives. But the danger is that the referendum will discourage young people’s participation in future political matters. But it shouldn’t, it seriously shouldn’t because any political decision that is made affects young people – in the long term – more than any other social group.

Written by By Darren Sharpe

Dr Darren Sharpe is a Senior Research Fellow with the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames based within the Institute of Health and Human Development, University of East London. His interests include participatory research with children, young people and vulnerable adults in health, social care, education and citizenship.

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