The YCW National Team recently met up with the Hartlepool Catholic Churches Youth Coordinator, Ric Slater, to discuss the work of the YCW and how it could be further developed across the North East.
Currently, Hartlepool has the highest rate of 18-24 year olds unemployed in the Tees Valley - at 8.6% - and many more young people are suffering from low pay and insecure employment.
At the core of the YCW is a commitment to promoting the dignity of work and especially for younger people who are frequently discriminated against and exploited.
In fact, these issues were reflected in a document released by the Pre-Synodal Meeting of Young People, presented in the Vatican last month following a week-long meeting opened in the presence of Pope Francis.
It discussed the pressures of work and prospects for the future, saying:
In some parts of the world, the only way to attain a secure future is to receive higher education or work excessively. While this is a commonly held standard, it is not always possible due to a variety of circumstances young people find themselves in. This idea is a prevalent notion and has consequently affected our understanding of work.
Despite this reality, young people wish to affirm the inherent dignity of work. Sometimes, we end up discarding our dreams. We are too afraid, and some of us have stopped dreaming. This is seen in the many socio-economic pressures that can severely drain the sense of hope among young people. At times, we have not even had the opportunities to keep dreaming.
For this reason, young people seek to engage with and address the social justice issues of our time. We seek the opportunity to work towards building a better world.