I might not be alone in sometimes looking around at what’s going on in the world and wondering whether things might be different if the adults let children and young people run things for a while
This year is the tenth anniversary of the Takeover Challenge, originally launched in 2007 by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner as a fun, imaginative and exciting activity to encourage organisations across England to open their doors to children and young people to take over adult roles.
The Takeover Challenge puts young people into decision-making positions and encourages organisations and businesses to hear their views. Children gain a valuable insight into the adult world and gain experience of a workplace, while organisations benefit from a fresh perspective on their work.
Over the last 10 years, the Takeover Challenge has taken on a life of its own and grown into a real success story. It’s no longer seen just as an event organised and promoted only by the Children’s Commissioner. In last two years alone, nearly 100,000 children have taken part – stepping into the shoes of a wide range of adult jobs including everything from MPs, mayors, TV presenters and teachers, to chief executives, business leaders and government officials.
Public, private sector and voluntary organisations, businesses big and small and thousands of schools and museums have all joined in, with hundreds of companies and organisations as diverse as the NHS, Sky News, The Natural History Museum, Police and Crime Commissioners and Manchester United taking part.
This year’s #TakeoverChallenge Day is on Friday November 24, but the scheme is now so well established that Takeover Challenges are happening at other times of the year too. Some of them are spread over weeks or even months.
I have been very pleased to see many organisations continue to run their own Takeover Challenges for many years, and taking it in new and existing directions. For example, Kids in Museums Museum Takeover Day has been a great success in the cultural sector. I look forward to seeing many more similar innovations like this in future.
As Children’s Commissioner, I am particularly keen on ensuring that children in care have the same opportunities as all children. That is why in 2016 I launched a new Whitehall Takeover that saw young people with care experience taking on roles at the very heart of decision making in government departments. We will build on this exciting work in 2017 with our Takeover Challenge focused on ensuring more children in care have the same experiences.
As the Takeover Challenge enters its second decade, I’m confident that it will offer even more opportunities to hundreds of thousands of children across the country. It’s no longer just the Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Challenge; it’s a living and growing series of events taking place all year round, driven by young people and by organisations and companies that value young people’s views. It is your takeover – long may it continue to thrive.
There are support materials and advice to kick start your own Takeover Challenge available here.