At the end of September 2017, a major report was launched by think thank Demos, with support from the British Council, exploring youth attitudes and aspirations in the UK.
The report, Next Generation UK, was informed by a major survey of 2,000 young people across the United Kingdom, as well as focus groups across the country, social media analysis and an Advisory Board, of which Helen Jones form the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services (CWVYS) was a member:
‘Last November and this March passed I took part in a piece of research with the think tank Demos. I sat on an Advisory Board along with around 20 other young people (aged below 30) from across the UK. On two occasions we spent a full afternoon offering our responses to questions, discussing issues that affect young people and the similarities and differences from place to place. The information we fed back in those discussions, along with the survey information informed the report.’
‘On the same day as the last meeting on the 25th of March, thousands of people gathered in London and cities across Europe to commemorate the Treaty of Rome and 60 years of the European Idea.
It is to this backdrop, this reason, the UK’s decision to leave the EU, that the report explored youth attitudes under three key themes: the UK’s place in the world, opportunities in education and work and political and social engagement.’
Here are some key findings:
The UK’s place in the world
Young adults on the whole are concerned about how their opportunities to work, study and live abroad are going to be impacted by Brexit. They also fear the decision will drive a wedge between communities in the UK, and call on government for reassurance.
Opportunities in education and work
Young adults are split down the middle on whether they think the education system works to prepare young people for work and life generally. Less than half (49%) believe they live in a socially mobile country.
Political and social engagement
Only 37% of young adults in the UK feel that British politics today reflects the issues that matter to them, and there is widespread mistrust. However, 73% feel it’s important to be engaged in traditional Westminster politics, suggesting keen democratic instincts to be unlocked.
‘The report has a wide range of findings related to identity, the modern labour market, and community action, political affiliation, and the role of social media in young adults’ lives. The report closes with some key recommendations on where we might go from here, for a better future. you can access the full report here.