Science is always giving young people good news. In July last year, it revealed that lockdown has had a detrimental impact on our mental health, exacerbating stress, anxiety, and depression. Then, hot off the press in January, it announced that young people have been “unable to cope with life” during the pandemic. Now, science is back with the goods, baby: young people’s career prospects have dwindled and our wellbeing has suffered post-pandemic. Pop the champagne!
Research conducted by the UK’s Health Foundation found that 86 per cent of 22 to 26-year-olds feel that their future careers have been negatively impacted by successive lockdowns, which have curbed networking opportunities and stopped them from achieving relevant skills.
The survey also revealed young people’s fears over stable employment, with 54 per cent of respondents reporting that most of the jobs they’re interested in offer temporary contracts only, while 35 per cent believe it’s difficult to find secure, fairly-paid work that provides opportunity for growth.
If that hasn’t satiated your appetite for good news, there’s more: four in five said their mental health has suffered post-pandemic, while seven in ten reported that it’s more difficult to access support now than it was before the crisis.
In April last year, Dazed spoke to young people who lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic, after research revealed that low-paid workers, women, and young people are the most likely to face unemployment amid the crisis. 27-year-old Jennifer Thomson said that despite losing her job, she wasn’t able to claim Universal Credit because her live-in partner was still in work. “We will struggle with our bills,” she said. “I’m worried about what happens if the virus lockdown and economic impact lasts longer than three months and continues to leave me out of work.”
Between March and November 2020, there were 3.6 million new claims made for Universal Credit, with young people making up a big proportion of claimants. Look back at Dazed’s interview with the young people depending on benefit schemes – and those who are being denied it – here.