Career Connect

Youth Employment UK’s Youth Voice Census 2023 was released last week. The national survey asked 4000 people aged 11-30 across the UK to share their views on employment and career prospects, their place in society, their needs and the issues that are important to them.

In this two-part article, our Career Connect Youth Ambassadors give their views on some of the findings and consider them alongside their own lived experience.

Here, they focus on services available for young people and their experience of disruption to education and careers planning.

Youth Voice Census Key Finding 1:

Many young people feel disconnected from society, jobs and opportunities, and there is limited access to services including housing, and physical and mental health care.

Image of a young person from the Youth Voice Census 2023

Youth Ambassador 1: “I would agree, I’m struggling to find a job right now, but I’m lucky enough to have had support – like from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). There are usually waiting lists for services though, and I wish help was more accessible in the first place.

“As soon as you turn 18 you are no longer seen by the CAMHS team. I have been referred to the adult service, but I have still not heard back. I wish I was made more aware of things, and that there were shorter waiting times. I’ve got a list from CAMHS with walk-in places but they are always in town.

“I would say it’s difficult to find support related to money issues – that’s the only support I’ve not got, and that I need. My friends have jobs, but I can’t find one. There are none locally. The only jobs are in town, which is an hour away, and this means travel which is expensive.

“There’s a Talkshop [an advice, support and information centre for young people] but it’s a bit far away from me.”

Youth Ambassador 2: “I do live near to Z Arts, an arts and creative hub for young people. I attended drama and art club there for years when I was younger which I enjoyed. Powerhouse is about a 15 min walk from me.

“I feel like there are opportunities out there, but they are quite hard to find – most people don’t know they’re there. There is no general information on support with a list of what is available.

“I think my school didn’t connect us with the right people and we could have had more school visits [to see what opportunities are available].”

Youth Voice Census Key Finding 2:

Image of young people from the Youth Voice Census 2023

Many young people see the last year as being one of disruption and delay. 55% of young people in education say that their learning has been disrupted. Only 17.3% of young people (in HE) had access to work experience.

Youth Ambassador 1: “I didn’t sit my GCSE’s because of Covid. I’m lucky enough to have gained work experience – I worked at a radio station – I did a radio show for over a year. It was amazing, it helped with my confidence a lot. I got a place after I dropped out of college, and was referred to Connect To Your Future  (Delivered by Career Connect), and they helped me find it. That placement has finished now.

“I think young people need to be made more aware of what work experience is available. They’re out there but it’s difficult, especially to find it related to my interests. Because I do art, there’s none.”

Youth Ambassador 2: “I always struggled with school and the underfunding meant we lacked in basic classroom supplies and support. Covid was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back, as I left school just before everyone else did and I never returned properly. I was at the end of Year 9 when Covid happened, and I never properly returned with everyone else, so I did very poorly in my GCSE’s due to not being in.”

Youth Ambassador 1: “Sometimes we missed teaching too because we had to clean tables due to Covid at the end of each lesson and it adds up.”

Youth Ambassador 2: “As far as the supplies go, I think it’s numerous aspects. On the one hand, we never had enough books or physical supplies but also the teachers were always stretched far too thin both mentally and physically. There was definitely a lack of supplies in school. Because I do art, I was told to limit what I use, like with printing.

“I think the underfunding of schools, the lack of adequate pay for teachers and the increase of children and young people with learning difficulties/special educational needs has made it very hard for students like myself in school.”

Youth Ambassador 1: “Young people need more support – I’ve been refused help because there’s not enough staff in college – I need help to keep on track with my work. I struggle because of ADHD and they said no.”

Youth Ambassador 2: “I think more employers should offer work experience. They get a chance to get views from young people, and young people can offer a unique perspective of being directly affected by austerity.”

Coming up in Part 2: Our Youth Ambassadors respond to the Youth Census findings on access to careers advice, and wellbeing in work.

Read the full survey findings HERE

Image of the front cover of the Youth Voice Census 2023

Thank you to our Youth Ambassadors for sharing their views and their own lived experience.


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