PRESS RELEASE: Young, stressed, anxious and ignored... Who cares?
Thursday 17 May 2012
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Young, stressed-out, anxious and ignored – who cares?
Negative attitudes of young people close doors to job opportunities
WORRYINGLY negative attitudes of young people in the UK are closing doors to jobs, according to two surveys commissioned by London youth charity Futureversity asking young people about barriers to employment.
Young people say that schools are not giving them confidence or skills to succeed, employers have a negative attitude towards them, and the Government simply isn’t listening and doesn’t care about their plight.
The survey reveals how a chasm has emerged between young people and their aspirations, with most (53%) saying that they cannot afford to go to university and many (63%) saying that they will not achieve their career ambitions.
Disturbingly nearly nine out of ten young people (86%) say that politicians do not understand young people or want to help. The poll of over 1,000 16 – 25 year olds, living in London, reveals as many as 64% say that employers and business are not positive towards helping them, with the majority (60%) saying they feel doors are closed when looking for jobs. This lack of job prospects and absence of support to redirect the newly unemployed is triggering new levels of anxiety amongst young people, with nearly two out of five feeling stressed and nervous about jobs and their future, and the majority (57%) worried they will get stuck in jobs below their aspirations and goals.
A separate ComRes poll of over 2,000 British adults shows the vast majority (85%) of people recognising it is more difficult to get a permanent paid job now than it used to be for young people, yet one in four (27%) Britons think young people are lazy, with one in three describing young people they know as lacking communication skills. The findings also show a gulf between young people today and those of 20 years ago, and that many institutions including government, business, media and the police have negative views of young people, with more than half saying these groups in particular hold negative views.
The findings come at a crucial time: the number of young people on Jobseekers Allowance in London has gone up by 248 percent in the last twelve months and the Government is considering how to respond to Darra Singh’s review following the riots of last summer which said young people are ‘failed by the system’ and recommended that schools, councils and the police do more to help young people.
Piloted as a crime prevention initiative in Tower Hamlets in 1995, Futureversity offers free courses to help young people develop key skills and self belief. Today, the charity is calling for the government to look again at what more can be done to support 16 – 25 year olds into employment.
Futureversity Chief Executive, Sarah Davies, said: “Young people today are disillusioned and worried about the future. Many cannot afford to go to university and feel stigmatised by employers. This is a generation that is crying out for more help and support, yet they do not believe that our politicians and employers are listening. When our survey also shows most agree young people are our biggest hope of getting out of economic turmoil - we need to do more to help them develop skills and get on-the-job training because without this we could face an even bigger youth employment crisis in future.”
Despite the gloomy outlook, the Futureversity surveys also reveal how the overwhelming majority of young people want to overcome these barriers, with 93% saying that they are determined to succeed in finding the right job.
Futureversity co-founder and patron, Bethnal Green & Bow MP, Rushanara Ali said: “This is not the lazy generation that many make out, if anything young people now have to work harder and be more determined than ever before because of the obstacles in their way. We should not be content for young people to have their horizons limited by the low expectations and negative attitudes of many, including the government. As seen through our survey, low aspirations about young people, when reflected more widely, are making it nearly impossible for them to navigate their way through an employment system that feels stacked-up against them. Worryingly, evidence tells us anti-social behaviour is often most marked in communities experiencing high unemployment and low self esteem. When London has seen numbers of young people on Jobseekers Allowance increase dramatically now is the time to give them more opportunities.”
Coinciding with today’s parliamentary Queen’s Speech debate on ‘jobs and growth’ the Futureversity surveys were carried out to show how tough life has become for young people trying to enter the workforce.
Ahead of the event, Kiaya Parratt, age 20, from South London said: “Like a lot of young people, I was bullied at school and ended up dropping out. I didn’t know where to go for advice about jobs or careers. No one ever asked me what I wanted to do at school and I worried constantly about how I was going to earn enough money to live on. The barriers and problems young people face are poorly understood – even by professionals in schools and at college, but I was determined to find a job where I could succeed. Getting a foot in the door is a big problem and it’s such a relief to be, finally, working, doing something rewarding, and knowing I have money coming in and a chance of a future helping others.”
Victoria Silver 07866 757 389 or 0207 392 7826 email@example.com
Notes to Editors
(1) The research with young people was done through an online survey between 27 April and 6 May 2012. It represents the views of over 1,000 young people (aged 16-25) from across London. Young people were asked about jobs and skills training, the support they received at school and the difficulties they experience finding and securing jobs.
(2) The research is being published to mark the youth charity’s annual ‘Dine for The Future’ event being held in central London (Thursday, 17 May 2012) where Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali is expected to give a speech, alongside young people telling their stories about the problems they face getting jobs.
(3) Futureversity delivers award-winning free courses and activities for 11-25 year olds to help them develop the skills and self-belief they need to make the most of their lives. Piloted as a crime prevention initiative in Tower Hamlets in 1995 (as Summer University), today the charity delivers learning opportunities to thousands of young people in partnership with businesses and industry professionals. Last year (2010-2011) Futureversity courses were oversubscribed by five times. Futureversity patrons include two of its former student, music artist Dizzee Rascal and co-founder MP Rushanara Ali, plus film director Danny Boyle and Baroness Oona King.
(4) Futureversity’s ‘closed doors’ youth and jobs survey can be found here.
(5) ComRes interviewed 2,064 GB adults online, between 9 and 11 May 2012. The data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. www.comres.co.uk
(6) Funding support for the research was provided by data centre Interxion whose offices are in Brick Lane (Tower Hamlets) www.interxion.com
(7) Futureversity’s ‘Dine for The Future’ event is the charity’s annual fundraising gala. This year’s event is being hosted by broadcaster and campaigner Simon Fanshawe who is currently Chair of the University of Sussex