For the first time, we're dedicating a whole day of our Centenary Conference programme to tackling the issues that most affect young people. With workshops focused on youth social action and what life is like in a co-operative school, to plenary sessions on the future of work, this action packed first day is sure to stimulate discussion and debate amongst all those attending.

Co-operation For a New Generation

09:30 Registration and Refreshments

10:15 Welcome From the Co-operative College

Our very own Daniel Cox, Project Co-ordinator and Trustee, will formally welcome everyone to the first day of our Centenary Conference.

10:30 Welcome to Rochdale - Cllr John Blundell, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business, Skills and Employment, Rochdale Council

10:40 Keynote One: Cllr Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council

Cllr Sean Fielding will share his valuable insights in his capacity as GMCA Portfolio Lead for Education, Skills, Work & Apprenticeships as well as the Leader of Oldham Council.

11:00 Plenary: Co-operative Youth Action Now

Panel: Marc Noel (Chair) - Global Co-operative Entrepreneurs | Gemma Obeng - Co-operative College | Andy Mortimer - Co-op Foundation | Lois McClure - Co-op

This session will address the social and economic challenges young people face and the role co-operatives can take to tackle some of these issues and generate opportunities.

The panel will discuss;

  • How they are proactively engaging with young people in the community and the workplace.
  • How co-operation can allow young people to innovate and practice the behaviours and skills required for active citizenship and finding fulfilment and excitement in their working lives.
  • Why youth engagement within co-operatives can positively shape the movement.

12:10 Keynote Two: Pip Sayers, Chair of General Council, Woodcraft Folk

12:30 Lunch


13:30 Workshops

Your chance to choose one of the workshops outlined below.

Workshop One: Youth Co-operative Action Now (Gemma Obeng, Co-operative College, Daniel Cox, Co-operative College)

This practical, interactive workshop will see participants look at cases of good practice from co-operatives across the globe and the impact the work has had on empowering a new generation of young people to take the co-operative values to a wider audience.

Workshop Two: Around the World.coop (Sara Vicari)

More info coming soon!

Workshop three: Co-ops and the Sustainable Development Goals in Focus (Amanda Benson, Co-operative College)

Co-ops have the potential to address many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but there are some key goals that co-ops are particularly well placed to address.  This session will introduce the SDGs using a range of 'hands on' activities that demonstrate how co-ops can act as positive agents of change to achieve them.

Workshop Four: Life in a Co-operative School (Ishaa Asim, Member of Greater Manchester Youth Parliament)

Workshop Five: Tour of the Rochdale Pioneers Museum (starts at 1pm)

Visit the birthplace of modern co-operation in the UK. Number 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale is synonymous with the co-operative movement across the globe. The museum will be hosting tours of the museum through-out the College’s Centenary Conference so you can see where it all began.


14:30 Refreshments

15:00 Keynote Three: Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester Combined Authority

15:20 Plenary: Young People and the Future of Work

Panel: Anca Voinea (Chair) - International Editor, Co-op News | Ana Aguire - Vice President ICA Youth Network (Europe) | Alexandre Gatti Lajes, OCEMG Superintendent

Young workers and the world of work are massively vulnerable to change, be it through technological innovation, population shifts, climate change and globalisation. These changes have accelerated in the last couple of decades and radically shape how we live, work and think. 

The old assumptions about gender roles, "job security" and "planned careers" have been transformed but young people also have capabilities which make them dynamic and resilient, such as digital fluency and diverse understandings of the nature and place of work in their lives.  

Here we explore a number of these challenges and consider how young people can and have used collective entrepreneurial approaches to innovate and organise in new spaces.

16:40 Keynote Four: Sebastian Chailou, President, ICA Youth Network

17:00 Close

18:30 Social, Buffet & Entertainment


Like the look of day one? Then take a look at day two and three too!

There are also still a limited number of £100 tickets remaining which give access to all three days of our Centenary Conference plus our Gala Dinner! See more information over in our ticketing area

Ticketing Area