Declan Welsh, 21, officially takes his place on the board of Children in Scotland from today.
The law student hopes the appointment will allow him to “have a direct effect on the lives on children in our country”.
He has already highlighted the issue of child poverty as one where action needs to be taken, branding it “an embarrassment in a country as wealthy as ours”.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS
Mr Welsh added: “People are angry over a lot of trivial things, but everyone should direct that anger at this.”
He aims to encourage more young people to become involved in politics, “wholeheartedly” agreeing with extending the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds, and also wants to help ensure those starting work have a better experience.
Mr Welsh said: “It’s harder than ever to find a job, and when young people leave school they often find that they have no option but to take unpaid or low wage jobs. Graduates even are faced with the prospect of entering jobs with no relevance to their degree.
“The current economic climate was caused in no way by young people, yet young people bear the burden the greatest. I think that finding work that pays fairly and is rewarding is not an option for far too many young people. That has to change.”
On extending the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds, as is proposed for next year’s Holyrood elections, he said: “If you can go and fight in a war on behalf of your country, you should be able to ratify or oppose that decision made by the government of the day in a polling booth.
“Young people and the working classes are continually ignored because they don’t vote in the numbers that the elderly or the middle classes do.
“Young people inherit whatever world the older generations give them, so they have to have a say in what decisions they make.”
Children in Scotland deputy chief executive Jacqueline Lamb said: “The appointment of Declan Welsh to the Board of Children in Scotland is part of our commitment to ensure that the decisions we make at a national level are influenced directly by children, young people and their families, as well as our members.”
“These first-hand experiences are vital in helping us evidence and influence the critical work that needs to be done to secure the wellbeing of all children in Scotland.”