I was just on the Council’s website to get some documents I needed to write a mock planning appeal statement for my course. The course is going well and the policy documents are genuinely interesting stuff if you’re a nerd like me. (If I meet people who aren’t nerdy about something, I don’t tend to trust them….)

Anyway, I spotted this – a new scheme to give Kingston teenagers a chance to shadow a councillor for a short time and get an idea of what they do.

To my own relief there is to be no tortuous analysis from me today – just wanted to say what a good idea I think this is. Not a gimmick (well, unless you think work experience is a gimmick too) and could genuinely get people interested. Some of my work involves engaging with young people and helping develop ways for them to get involved in politics. There are some great creative schemes out there, some with significant budgets attached to them, and simple but effective ideas like this one can only add value. Even if participants don’t want to become councillors at the end of it, there are a lot of other options for getting involved and it could be a good chance to gather information on what really interests them.

But if Kingston does this right, the benefit will be mutual: not only will the teenagers get an interesting experience, but they’ll be ideally placed to comment on how – or whether – the meetings, policies and practices that they’re learning about actually connect with their own perceived realities.

I hope they get this space to comment – and that when they give their views, they won’t hold back.