Read OurLatest News

Venturers Trust Student Chosen as an Ambassador for The Big Ambition Initiative

Venturers Trust is extremely proud of student Ben Barker, who has been selected for a national role as an Ambassador for the Children’s Commissioner.

Ben is one of 16 young people chosen to support The Big Ambition initiative, launched by the Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza to ensure that, in the run-up to the general election, politicians and policy makers hear about the issues that are important to children and teenagers.

Ben, who is studying Maths, Chemistry and Physics at Montpelier High School’s co-educational sixth form V6, applied to be an Ambassador while he was still at Merchants’ Academy Secondary in South Bristol, where he was Head Junior Prefect. He was encouraged by the school’s head of student voice Amy Durbin.

IMG 0715

“My teachers at both Merchants’ and V6 have been helpful and supportive,” said Ben. “I was diagnosed with special education needs – ADHD and delayed language development – just before the lockdown, so one of my Big Ambitions is to find ways of supporting students with SEND without making them feel like outsiders.”

Diversity, equality and inclusion and youth mental health are other areas in which Ben hopes to make a contribution during the year, as the Ambassadors meet decision makers to ensure they are aware of young people’s views.

Ben has already attended sessions in London to meet his fellow Ambassadors and in February he took part in a roundtable meeting on online safety with representatives of tech giants Google, Meta, TikTok and X and the UK video games trade body UKIE.

Ben said: “Social media over the past few years has been evolving so quickly, it can be hard to keep up. I think we need to better inform parents, teachers and other adults in a child’s life about how safe social media can be, but making everyone aware of the potential dangers. Schools need to teach young people about being safe online, as well as telling us to ‘report and block’.  

“My experiences with social media haven’t always been smooth sailing, and that’s why I and the Children’s Commissioner want to see change. Children need to be safe online, so our childhoods aren’t ruined and made unnecessarily stressful.  

“Overall, the online roundtable was informative, and it was great that the representatives from the online platforms answered all my and the other Youth Ambassadors’ questions. They told us about the things they are constantly doing to try and improve the experiences of young people online, and things that they agreed with us need to change. I left the roundtable feeling more motivated than ever to help young people, and ready to make a difference, not only now but for future generations of children too.”

Rachel de Souza said Ben and his fellow Ambassadors were really amazing young people: “My Ambassadors have been chosen for their personal experiences and for their passion to try to change issues that really affect children and young people,” she said.

“They are all aged 16 and 17, so they know exactly what it’s like to be a young person now, with many of the same worries and challenges.

“My Ambassadors spoke directly to representatives of the tech companies and social platforms to voice concerns they have experienced. The roundtable sparked some great conversations about keeping children safe online and I was delighted that the representatives committed to regular meetings with my Ambassadors to discuss online safety.”

Page Gallery