Metro mayor election: Messages from young people

The BBC Listen Up bus in Bristol
Image caption The BBC Listen Up bus has been speaking to young people in the six areas where metropolitan mayors will be elected

England's first metropolitan mayors will be elected this week and for some young people it will be the first election they will vote in.

Elections will be held for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Liverpool City Region, West of England, Greater Manchester, Tees Valley and the West Midlands.

The BBC's Listen Up project has been talking to young people about local politics and the issues that matter to them.

What messages did young people have for the mayors? Find out in our Listen Up podcasts

In Peterborough the group were divided over their feelings towards politics.

Image caption Students at Peterborough Regional College took part in a workshop

Ashley said: "As I've only just turned 18 the mayoral vote will be my first vote... I think I'm more interested in politics and how I can have my say."

Samantha, 21, said: "They'll say something and they don't do it. What's the point in saying it - you're not going to make this country better. I just think they lie."

There were concerns over the cost of living in Bristol, with 18-year-old Amelia sharing her family's struggle to find a home.

"I was living in rented [accommodation] with my mum for a few years, we looked around Bristol and couldn't find a house to fit all us in that was affordable.

"Me and my family we actually moved to Wales because basically we cannot afford to live in Bristol and we're all Bristol born and bred. It's really unfair we're being chased out of our own town… and it's really sad."

We asked students at Middlesbrough College for their thoughts on building a career and life in the area at the end of their studies.

Image caption These Middlesbrough College students discussed the role of the mayor and unemployment

They suggested the metro mayor should encourage entrepreneurial schemes in secondary schools and there should be more emphasis on private sector growth and investment in infrastructure.

Cory, 18, said: "There isn't the jobs and industry in this area.

"The reason unemployment is as high as it is is that people don't get the skills from education to go onto these jobs, but also because there aren't the jobs here in the first place for them.

"They can learn, they can get the skills - but they have to leave this area to get the job."

The young people involved in the workshop in Birmingham were keen for the mayor to shout about the skills and talents in one of the most creative, diverse and young cities in the country.

Dominic, 23, said: "One of the biggest selling points is the fact that because it's been neglected for so long it's a blank canvas. There's infrastructure here... it's just waiting for a revamp."

In Liverpool there was a debate about identity and whether the six council areas - Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral - could really be represented by one mayor.

At St Helens College Jess, 18, said: "There's nothing that governs us together, nothing brings us together,

"We are just apart and there's quite a few problems in St Helens as it is, but to be honest I feel like they just say you're a part of it now and then they'll focus on bigger areas rather than just St Helens."

Image caption In Manchester public transport was a hot topic

And in Manchester the group focused on the challenges they face with public transport.

Lauren, 19, said: "I travel in to Manchester every day for university. At the start of the year I had to work out what the cheapest way to do it was.

"It was actually cheaper to buy a car, get the insurance and drive in every day, rather than getting the bus to the tram stop and getting the tram every day into Manchester."

Actor and filmmaker Femi Oyeniran, who led the workshops, said: "The young people had some very real and honest opinions about politics and I was glad to hear that lots of them are going to vote in this election which is really exciting.

"They were very keen to link the issues together and link the fact that all these things, if the mayor doesn't tackle it, could lead to long term problems in their area."