Generation Y: who are they and what do they want for their future?
This week the Belfast Telegraph is giving an unprecedented platform to young people aged 16-24. Editor Mike Gilson explains why it's important to give them a voice today
They are the future but that future is uncertain. They have energy, ideas and passion but are rarely heard. They are taken for granted by our leaders. They don't vote in the numbers of their elders so they are easily ignored.
While few politicians would introduce negative policies for the elderly, this group is targeted time and time again.
Unemployment among them is high, career options are currently limited, emigration is on the increase again.
And yet they are probably the most educated, multi-skilled generation of all time, locked into an information highway the like of which was unimaginable to their parents at the same age.
We are talking about the young people of Northern Ireland, the 16 to 24-year-olds upon whom the future of this part of the world rests.
The truth is, even parents have only a partial picture of what it is like to be young in 2014.
The Belfast Telegraph, along with many other media platforms, would plead guilty to not doing enough to reflect the views of the people called Generation Y.
It's been said that the Baby Boomer generation has squandered its chance, had the party in the good times and left Generation Y to pick up the bill.
They will have to work longer and harder while the older generations enjoy pension benefits they will never see.
All this week the Belfast Telegraph is giving youth its voice. An exclusive poll, conducted by Lucid Talk, reveals for the first time the hopes and fears of the young.
Our reporters and features writers will be focusing on what is in store for them and what they really think about a range of issues. We will focus on the hopes, talents and creativity, the sheer fun of being young as well as some of the fears and doubts about what lies in store for them on their life's journey.
And at Royal Avenue all this week eight students, four boys, four girls, from schools in Northern Ireland will be in our offices giving us their views, sitting in on our conferences, and asking questions of those in power. On Friday they will edit the paper.
What we print on that day will largely be what they have chosen across news, features and comment. And, of course, they will be hugely involved in our successful digital platforms.
We hope they and all the young people we talk to this week will make their voices heard.
One thing is for sure. We feel pretty confident that despite the twists and turns of the road ahead we will conclude that the future is safe in their hands.