Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I Want to be Youth President

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Matt, I’m 22 and I’m standing to be Methodist Youth President 2012/13. And I thought that today I would write about my reasons why I’m standing for the role. For a quick overview, you can see my ‘campaign’ video that was filmed last week.

Matt Collins candidate for Youth President 2012 from Methodist Children & Youth on Vimeo.
That ending makes me laugh! I was so tempted to pull a ‘Blue Steel’. (I’ll save Magnum for 3Generate!)

But 93 seconds wasn’t really enough time to say everything I wanted to. So here we go…

Firstly, I must explain my vision for the Methodist Church. In Matthew 16, Jesus says ‘I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.’ This means that we have been entrusted with the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. We could lock ourselves in, and live safely in a Christian bubble, or we could throw open the gates and invite the world to come inside and know God better. Which do you think God wants?

I want to see the Church (not just Methodism) to be an ever more outward-looking movement. God’s message isn’t just for those who turn up at 10.30 every Sunday. We are literally preaching to the converted. The Message is more importantly for those who have never stepped inside a church; the drunks, the addicts, the homeless, everyone! Therefore, I want to see the Church, and all the young people who come into contact with it, to use their ‘keys’ to open the Kingdom for everyone, and to be doing God’s will. Some of the ways that this can be done is for the Methodist Church to continue in the work it does in terms of social justice, at home and abroad. This will help give people of all ages, locations, social standing, colour and creed to excel and use their God-given gifts to serve God and communities to the full.
So that is my vision… but why do I want to be the Youth President?

Well, simply because I care about the Church and Young People. The next few years are going to be very interesting for young people. The changes to Education funding is going to have a massive effect, with the end of EMA and £9,000 Uni fees, fewer people are going to have the opportunities that they want. And with rising youth unemployment, those not in education are struggling to find jobs, even if they did go to university (I’m in that stage at the moment). These are issues that the Methodist Church needs to look at, and I would love to be your voice to those who make the big decisions in the Church. And to be able to do this effectively, it’s vital that I meet as many of you as possible. I would be prepared to travel the length and breadth of the Britain, so that I can get a true understanding of what issues are important to you. I would also use the experience of the OPPs and other young people to get as wide a picture as possible. And when it comes to representing you on the hundreds of committees of the Methodist Church, I have plenty of experience. I’ve been a District Rep on ‘big’ Conference, served on two Church Councils and was President of Aberystwyth MethSoc. I also have a knack of asking the questions that others haven’t thought of, and am not afraid to voice opinions which go against the grain, if it is what I truly believe.

But also I want to help you, in your area, to be the changes that you want to see. One person can’t change everything (Jesus aside) but they can make a change in their area. And if every Methodist young person started trying to make little changes, the big changes will follow. So I want to challenge you to be the force for change where you are, and to challenge the Church to listen to young people at every level. That is what true participation is about!

So there we go, that’s me and why I want to be your Youth President. But it’s up to you to decide. If you aren’t yet signed up to come to 3Generate on the 4-6th November, you have until Midnight next Sunday (30th October) to book. All the details can be found at

I look forward to seeing you there!

Please could you pray for me and the other four fellow candidates as we go through this process, if they are anything like me they are very nervous! You can see the others' videos at

God Bless


P.S. you can find me on Twitter (@gingermethodist) or on Facebook (search ‘Matt Collins’).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Minimum Wage

Last night, Emily Hewson retweeted a link on Twitter to an article from the Telegraph entitled ‘Minimum wage harming job opportunities for young’ (which can be found here). The article states that the Low Pay Commission, an independent body established to advise the Government about the National Minimum Wage, believes that the Minimum Wage for young people should be lowered as it firms find employing young people too expensive.

This article baffled me no end, for two main reasons. Firstly, I have trouble understanding the logic here. As of a few days ago (when the National Minimum Wage rose), the Minimum Wage is £6.08 for 21+, £4.98 for 18-20s and £3.68 for 16 and 17 year olds. So it is cheaper to employ young people, isn’t it? Say a firm needs a low-level, grunt employee, how is the Minimum Wage making it too expensive to employ a young person over someone over 21? It is almost 40% cheaper to employ a young person. Ok, I can understand that there is the potential cost of taking on an ‘inexperienced’ young person and training them up. But, in a long term view, isn’t training people an investment in which everyone can benefit? And fresh blood can often bring new and innovative idea to a business.

Secondly, there is a discrimination issue. In 2006, The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations were brought in to force. These made it illegal for a business to discriminate against embloyees or potential employees due to their age (with some exceptions). This was updated in the Equality Act 2010. You probably remember that the focus of these when they came in was to do with how or when a business could force an older person to take retirement. But little was said about the lower end of the scale. I have always wondered how the three different Minimum Wages fit with age discrimination. If two people are doing the same job, the same hours, at the same capability, are paid the minimum wage, how is it fair that one could be being paid 40% more. If this was the case for people of different race or gender, there would be uproar! (I know there is a difference in pay between men and women, but as far as I know, it doesn’t occur for people doing the same job for the same company.) So why is it ok when it comes to young people?

This discrimination is already getting worse. The recent increase in the National Minimum Wage saw the 21+ wage increase by 2.5%, whereas the younger rates only increased 1% (in real terms this is a cut for both, as inflation was 4%, but that’s a different story). Should people doing the same job not be paid the same, no matter who they are? The Methodist Church is committed to pay all their employees the Living Wage, not the Minimum Wage, no matter what age they are. This should be the model for society, not the exception.

I’m not sure how to finish this blog, I don’t have the answers, or a way forward. I just hope that the suggestion of lowering youth Minimum Wage are ignored, should they come in the Low Pay Commission’s report that is due next year.

[EDIT] Since I wrote this, Emily has set up a directgov e-petition against cutting the Minimum wage. Please have a look and sign it but clicking here. Thank you