Speakers for Schools commissioned three YouGov surveys to discover young people’s attitudes towards professional education and aspirations post-pandemic.
This study equally shows the thoughts of politicians and employers on young people’s aspirations in the UK. The survey includes 100 business leaders and 100 MPs, 2,000 young people (11-19 age bracket).
The pandemic affected the young in the same way as it affected the adults. Many young people have lost the avenue for career growth and professional learning due to the lockdown. The aspiration of young people then became questionable with the restrictive pandemic, booting out traditional UK work experience, ushering in the necessity for a virtual work experience. However, work experience online is becoming the new normal.
Outside Mental Health, what is it that Young People Think?
In the UK, are you aware that mental health problems affect about 16.67% of young people? This includes depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder. Unfortunately, the survey showed that around 75% of young people experiencing these mental problems are not getting the required assistance.
- The barrier keeping UK youngsters: The setbacks keeping the youngsters from professional training needs to be noted. 47-55% indicated that accessing work experience opportunities is the biggest obstacle, emphasizing the need for online work experience.
- Improving the Confidence of Young People: 53-63% of young people also think it is vital for their career confidence to get UK work experience in a relevant field of expertise.
- The priorities: As expected, young people between the ages of 16 and 19 consider their mental health essential for making up for the lost time during the pandemic.
How Many Young People Think Politicians and Employers Understand Them Well?
Politicians and Employers think they understand young people well. Politicians (95 %), Employers (91 %) agree that the pandemic hit young people moderately to significantly.
- A good number of employers feel that they understand young people well enough. Employers (67 %) believe they understand the aspirations, needs, and hopes of young people. But most young people disagree with that, as only 23 % believe employers understand their aspirations, needs, and hopes.
- What could be done? What could have gone wrong? It is hard to understand how young people feel and what they have experience in the pandemic.
- It is common for politicians to feel they understand young people very well. For example, 87 % of them believe they understand young people’s needs, aspirations, and hopes. Unfortunately, just 11 % of young people agree.
What could be done?
The difference we see in the data is because of the weak link between the younger generation and politicians. Due to this enormous gap, 84-86% of politicians obtain insightful data from young people’s families, friends, schools, or constituents.
More accurate data can be gathered if the politicians can extend their source of reference by directly getting in touch with the young people.
The weak link between young people and politicians is what brought about the data. 84-86% of politicians obtain insightful data from young people’s constituents, schools, friends, and family.
Politicians can seek insights outside traditional networks, extend their source of reference, and get directly in touch with young people.
How Young People Can Make Up for the Time-Lost: Virtual Work Experience
The easing of lockdown in the UK means it is reinventing traditional work experience and finding its feet. However, it doesn’t change the fact that many facets and some business operations are being affected, while some are folding up. This means traditional work experience placements are being shifted or cancelled.
Further, the few available placements are not even fully leveraged by young people. As a result, young people may be required to self-isolate, supposing opportunities are available, which is a barrier.
There is a problem of accessibility of traditional placements and availability due to transportation costs plus other expenses that debar young people from participating. In addition, employers are curbing the number of members in physical positions due to their current experience.
Work experience online provides an accommodating and entirely different experience. It reduces costs by a wide margin, eliminates geography problems, and lets employers and young people conveniently meet online—no cause for quarantine.
Moreso, Virtual WEX or schoolwork experience allows for flexibility, allowing employers to extend their outreach, thereby extending, and increasing the number of placements of the catchment area for young people in the UK.
Government, Employers, and Charity Organisations Can Help the Campaign
90 % of politicians are aware that government support is essential to life-changing experiences for young people. The government will discover where they could be lagging in collecting insightful and actionable data if the government relates closely with young people. The government can also work closely with organizations and employers to make online work experience accessible and dominant to young people in the UK.