New Research has found the pandemic is dampening young people’s aspirations

Losing hope: young people are abandoning their aspirations as the pandemic continues to impact their wellbeing.

The Princes Trust have released their new research taken in September, 6 months into the pandemic. The research explores how the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted education, training and job opportunities for young people aged 16 – 25 year olds. 

The report raises concerns about young people with more than a third (39%) claiming to have abandoned their aspirations for the year ahead, for those not in education, employment or training (NEET) this figure rises significantly. 

In addition more than a third of young people (38%) feel they will “never succeed in life”, and this increases to almost half (48%) of those surveyed from poorer homes.

You can read the full report here

Key Findings:

Missed Time in Education

  • 54% said they felt pressure to work harder to make up for lost time in education.
  • 41% of young people in school, college or university worry that missed time in education will set them back for the rest of their life, jumping to 50% for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
  • 39% of young people (47% of those from lower socio-economic backgrounds) thought that their education had gone to waste.

Impact on Mental Health 

  • 67% said having a job would be good for their mental health. 
  • 41% of young people said they had experienced self-loathing. 
  • 27% feel they are unable to cope with life and 36% say they struggle to think clearly.
  • 65% said not being able to find them a job made them feel anxious, 31% had experienced panic attacks (34% for NEET young people).
  • 36% of young people believe they will have a lower quality of life.

Employment and Finances 

  • 35% of young people feel they will need to give up their dream job for “any job”.
  • 43% said they didn’t expect to ever have a job they really loved, 55% for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
  • 17% of young people say they are struggling to cover basic living costs such as food, rent and bills.
  • 58% are scared about becoming unemployed.
  • 46% of young people think their generation will have fewer opportunities.
  • 14% of young people have new or increased caring responsibilities, rising to 19% for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Our Commentary 

Young people are feeling the impacts of the coronavirus, their confidence, mental health and aspirations for the future have been hit particularly hard with those from disadvantaged backgrounds being particularly hard hit.

This report is a reminder of the potential that this pandemic, and its socio-economic impacts, has to scar hundreds of thousands of young people currently in education and those who will be entering the labour market in extremely difficult and uncertain times. We must hear the voices, concerns and challenges of those young people and we must continue to work together with Government Departments, employers and partner organisations to ensure there is sufficient provision for young people to succeed and that those initiatives put in place provide quality opportunities and next steps for all young people.


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