Britain’s youngest elected Labour councillor took to the stage today at the Stadium of Light to collect his degree – marking three years of balancing his university studies while serving his local community.
Adam Ellison was graduating from his BA (Hons) History and Politics degree at the University of Sunderland, (12 July) this week, alongside 3,000 fellow students, receiving their awards from Chancellor Steve Cram CBE.
Adam was just 19 years old and in the first year of his degree when he was selected to stand for the Hebburn North seat at the local elections in South Tyneside back in 2015 and won.
Since that time he has committed himself to supporting the people and projects of the ward, all while enjoying his university course. And while he admits there have been challenges along the way he says it’s no different to what other students will be experiencing when studying for a degree.
Now aged 21, Adam, from Hebburn, plans to continue his studies with an MA in International Politics, with the ultimate ambition to stand as a Member of Parliament and help shape Government legislation in the future.
He explained: “I have always been interested in history and extremely politically active, so it made sense to combine the two at degree level. I have really enjoyed my experience at Sunderland, and was studying alongside some great people.”
Adam, who studied A-levels at Harton Technology College in South Shields prior to university, says he has been fascinated by the political process from a young age. At 15, he became a young member of Parliament, a British Youth Council initiative to give young people a greater voice in politics nationally, and took part in debates in London’s Westminster overseen by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.
As a youth officer with Jarrow Constituency Labour Party, Adam was adopted as its candidate for Labour North, for which he said: “I was very proud to have been selected. It is such an honour to stand in the ward in which I live. I wanted to get involved at the grass-roots level and make the people in the ward my top priority.”
Mr Ellison has urged more young people to get involved in politics and hopes he is seen as a role model.
He added: “People may have seen me initially and wondered ‘is he too young?’, but I think when they realised my determination, they then saw beyond my youth. The young can offer a different viewpoint, and that has to be positive.”
He also has some advice for students about to start their university journey: “Make sure you plan and keep on top of everything. You need to get the right balance and don’t want to be either too laid back or too consumed by all of your work.”