Craig Wilson at The Prince's Trust says now more than ever the country must look to its youth
As the employment and skills market continues to take the brunt from the fall-out of Covid-19, the future of young people becomes everyone’s responsibility.
The pandemic has of course shown no prejudice, with each and every one of us affected in one way or another.
However, the impact it could have on young workers and those in education means that young adults at a greater risk of becoming a forgotten generation.
The Prince’s Trust and YouGov report, Young People in Lockdown, confirmed that more than a quarter of 16-25-year-olds in Scotland believe their future career prospects have been damaged and 49% say it will be harder than ever to get a job.
Furthermore, the mental aspect of facing an impending wall of uncertainty cannot be neglected. The same report, shows how 43 per cent of young people across the UK feel their anxiety levels have increased as a result of the crisis, with 32 per cent saying they are “overwhelmed” by feelings of panic and anxiety on a daily basis.
At The Prince’s Trust, we have been working tirelessly to ensure that no one is left behind. But this is just the beginning – it is essential that youth work is recognised as playing an important role in overcoming the inevitable economic and social implications that this pandemic has brought.
As part of The Prince’s Trust’s response, we have forged initiatives and schemes geared towards ensuring a generation of the future workforce does not lose hope.
Stabilising our service and maintaining contact with young people has been of paramount importance to us since Covid-19 took hold. Our teams across Scotland have ensured that young people relying upon our expertise or seeking us out for the first time are suitably supported as we transitioned our offer onto online platforms.
A new national approach to delivery has been an exciting development, and our ability to maintainsupport for young people has been invaluable regardless of where they are based. Digital sessions on employability, enterprise and personal and social development have been attended by people from all corners of the country - no longer is location a barrier.
We are excited at how these new ways of working will help us to extend and improve our offering more widely, and following their success, these online sessions will continue even after we resume face to face delivery.
Our ability to adapt our services has been strengthened by the commitment shown by our volunteers who have been invaluable during this time. Their dedication to young people has never been demonstrated more than in the last few months – from hosting wellbeing sessions and helping young business owners to apply to our Enterprise Relief Fund, to offering mentoring services sharing tips on writing CVs and prepping for interviews.
Nobody knows what is around the corner. But what we do know, is that by supporting our younger generation and working to preserve their future, we will ultimately create a better future for everyone.
Craig Wilson is senior head of operations at The Prince’s Trust Scotland