New youth elections candidates

ELECTIONS to the Scottish Youth Parliament are to be held next Thursday and with Ryan Smith’s and Natasha Lindsey’s terms as Shetland representatives at an end new candidates have been sought to represent the views of young people in the isles at local and national level.

Ballots will open at 8am and close at 10pm. Voting is to take place through the Young Scot Shetland pages. All young people aged 12 to 26 are eligible to vote. Please visit to participate in the election – you will require your Young Scot National Entitlement Card so please have it handy on the day.

Voting stations include all Shetland’s second­ary schools and Shetland Youth Information Services (SYIS) at the Market Cross from 12pm-9pm or simply log on to

The four candidates are: Nethan Watson from Lerwick, currently attending Anderson High School; Rowen Thomson from Girlsta, currently attending Scalloway Junior High; Nicole Mouat from Scalloway, currently attending Scalloway Junior High; and Nicole Gilfillan from Girlsta, currently attending Anderson High School.

Each candidate has been required to write a manifesto outlining their views on issues that affect young people at a local, national and international level, which are reproduced here.

The election results will be announced by MSP Tavish Scott next Friday afternoon at Islesburgh and posted online through the Young Scot Shetland pages.

Nethan Watson: I have recently become a member and participated in both executive and general Youth Voice meetings. I think it is a great opportunity for young people to express their views about local topics such as Mareel, although there are many more. I would be a good candidate because I find it easy to speak to all young people. I am confident and always willing to help no matter how busy I am. I hope to gain the opportunity to help and assist as many young people as possible. I would aim to visit most youth clubs and other areas if elected to find out young people’s views/opinions on a wide range of issues.

I feel confident that I will be able to listen to other young people and put across their views whether in youth club, Shetland Youth Voice or at the Scottish Youth Parliament if elected.

  • I am involved in a number of sports clubs including: Spurs Hockey Team, Spurs Football Team, Shetland Football Team – under-14s – and Young Person’s Rugby Group.
  • I also enjoy participating in Up Helly A’, a major event in Shetland. This year I am in the Junior Jarl Squad. Last year I was in the Senior Jarl Squad. I really enjoyed it. More young people should take part whether in a squad or going to a hall as it is important to our culture.
  • I believe the plans for the new Anderson High School are good as the old building is small, crowded and failing. A new school would encourage young people to learn to use new technology.
  • I believe that young people are in support of the planned windfarm for Shetland. I feel that it would create many news jobs, which will be great for the Shetland economy. It is a clean form of energy and will be great if used in Shetland homes.
  • I think global warming is a major concern for young people as we are the next generation. I think we use oil/petrol too much – why can’t we use battery powered cars? Another way I believe global warming could be tackled is through promoting more recycling schemes such as reduce, re-use, recycle.

Nicole Gilfillan: I got interested in the Scottish Youth Parliament through the School Representative Council. I have been in the SRC since I was 12 years old. I enjoy debating and decision-making for the school and I have been on a conference trip with some members of the SRC to Lossiemouth where I got to meet other SRC members and tell them what I do for my school.

I have attended most Youth Voice meetings and found them very interesting. I enjoyed meeting other children from different schools in Shetland and communicating and sharing ideas with them. I found the last meeting very interesting as Ryan, the current MSYP for Shetland, told us what he does for young people. I am interesting in standing for the MSYP position as I have done a lot for my school and would love to do a lot for Shetland also.

The local issues I would bring up in the MSYP meetings would be: ? The schools in Shetland. I believe we don’t communicate well enough and I would like to see schools communicating better and discussing each other’s ideas.

  • I would also like to see more information on the Mareel cinema and music venue project. I am for the Mareel and think it is an excellent idea for youths to stay off the street and to find something to do rather than hang around.
  • Another question I would bring up would be, do you think some of the schools in Shetland should be closed? I think the children should be asked this question as it affects them not just the parents or politicians. I also think some of the children in small schools would benefit from change and going into a bigger school.

I hope to gain more experience from the Scottish Youth Parliament, as I am very interested in youth issues and would like to experience what it is like to represent so many people. I am a very vocal person, I am always willing to try new things and I would hope my opinions and views could help to offer a different perspective on people’s issues.

Nicole Mouat: Over the past couple of years I have attended and participated in many youth voice meet­ings. I feel it’s a great way to get views across from young people in Shetland. Now I would like to put across the views of people in Shetland to the rest of Scotland.

  • I am a member of my school’s pupil council, so between this and the Youth Voice, I have experience in speaking in a group about different issues. I would be confident to put across the views of other young people.
  • I am involved in sports clubs and my school’s drama club. I love being involved in my community.
  • I think that the Mareel will be an excellent area for young people in Shetland. Music is a big part of our culture, and the Mareel music centre will be great to show off this talent. The cinema will be good for meeting with friends, and somewhere to go rather than staying around the streets.
  • I feel that the proposed new Anderson High School will be a positive thing for the isles. I still think that some of the more rural schools should be kept open for the communities.
  • Renewable energy is a big talking point at the moment. The proposed Viking windfarm is a large-scale development that, if it goes ahead, will be a great investment for Shetland. Many of the jobs, which will be created through the construction and maintenance, will be filled, most likely, by people in our generation. Therefore, I feel we should have a larger say in what happens.

Rowen Thomson: I have had much experience within Shetland from music acts to eco committees and I would like to represent Shetland for the Scottish Youth Parliament.

I am already a member of the Shetland Youth Voice and attend various meetings throughout the year. I have also represented Shetland by going over to Norway and playing the fiddle to mark the good relationship and the history of the Shetland bus.

  • I think that the cinema and music venue is a good idea for Shetland. The Garrison Theatre that is being used as our current cinema has many faults, one of these being that the seats are not suited for viewing the films because it is difficult to see if two tall people sit in front of you. I am more interested in the music venue as it is said it will have a recording studio.
  • The new Anderson High School is said to have room for 1,000 people in it but I do not think that this is a good reason for shutting down schools. If the small junior high schools were to close, there would be many people unhappy about this. It would create transport issues and upset those who are halfway through their school years starting at a new school. There are also a large amount of heads per class in the AHS and not enough teachers for these pupils.

Students who hope to do well will not get enough of the support that they require. Smaller schools on the other hand are great for this as the small classes allow each pupil to get the help they need.

  • I think that renewable energy is a valuable asset that we ignore at the moment. I think that more should be done to research into that. It would save our planet if something was to be done now.
  • The Viking energy project is one of the main arguments at the moment. However I do not believe it should be argued about. Wind turbines are the future. The people out there who think that this is a bad idea need to look at the facts: they are quiet, they are efficient and they do not pollute the environment. There are other sources of power but some of them are much worse. Nuclear power stations produce radioactive waste which is extremely hard to get rid of. Shetland would never survive with a large nuclear reactor and there is the odd chance that something could go wrong. Think back to Chernobyl 20 years ago.

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