The Prince’s TrustYouGov Youth Index 2010
ForewordBy Professor David G. BlanchflowerLonely. Rejected. Lost. Desperate.These are just some of the words I’ve heard unemployed young people use to describe theirstate of mind during the last year of recession.Joblessness has a knock-on effect on a young person’s self-esteem, their emotional stabilityand overall wellbeing. The longer the period they are unemployed for, the more likely they are toexperience this psychological scarring. And more often than not, these are permanent scars –not temporary blemishes.This report reveals how unemployed young people living in the UK today are already less happywith their friendships, family life and health than those in work. They are also more likely to feelashamed, rejected and unloved.Sadly, I expect we shall see an increasingly depressed and debilitated generation who, as aresult, become decreasingly likely to find work and hang on to it in the future.The long and downward spiral of unemployment can also leave young people prone to moreserious mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, homelessness or worse.All this has spurred on much talk of a “lost generation” of young people in the UK today. Werefer to them as “lost” because of these profound and lasting effects of youth unemployment,on everything from wages and job satisfaction to happiness and health.With graduates flooding the jobs market, those with fewer qualifications have been pusheddown the pecking order – leaving those with no skills or qualifications even further from thejobs.Some of these young people have never worked at all; others have not been in work longenough to find out their individual skills.These young people are not lost - they are undiscovered. There is a wealth of dormant talentout there and it is our duty to tap into it.With support and training for young people from organisations such as The Prince’s Trust,we can reverse the emotional and psychological scars of joblessness, ensuring today’sunemployed do not become tomorrow’s unemployable.
IntroductionBy Ginny Lunn, director of policy anddevelopment at The Prince’s TrustLast year marked the launch of our first Youth Index, measuring how young peoplefeel about their lives today and how confident they are about their future.We found that, although most young people were happy, a significant number felt stressed anddepressed a lot of the time. For some, life had little or no purpose.This is the second year of our Youth Index with YouGov and our largest study with youngpeople.With last year’s recession hitting young people the hardest, this index examines the state ofyoung lives in the UK today.It examines not only the younger generation as a whole, but the growing number of youngpeople not in employment, education or training.These are the casualties of the recession – those young people who have moved on fromschool, college and even university to find themselves in one of the toughest job markets fordecades.This report’s findings show that The Prince’s Trust’s work with vulnerable young people is morerelevant than ever.Only with ongoing support from the public, private and voluntary sector can we help raise the£1 million a week we need to continue our vital work. And ensure an undiscovered generationisn’t lost forever.
Youth Index respondentsA sample of 2,088 16-to-25-year-olds took part in the online poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Prince’s Trust, inDecember 2009.The data has been weighted according to age, gender and region, to be representative of all UK 16-to-25-year-olds.Of the sample, 130 respondents were not in employment, education or training (NEETs).The Prince’s Trust YouGov Youth IndexThe Youth Index measures how young people feel about the state of their lives today and how confident they are about theirfuture.Respondents were asked how happy or unhappy they felt about different aspects of their lives, from family and friends to moneyand health. They were also asked how confident they were about their future.The responses in the index are converted to a numerical scale, from one to seven. From this, a percentage is calculated topresent a young person’s happiness and confidence as a number out of 100, where 100 is entirely happy or confident and zerois not at all happy or confident.The overall index number for young people’s happiness is 72, for confidence it is 74, bringing the Youth Index number to 73. Theindex last year also came to 73.Unemployed young peopleThe research suggests that young people who are NEET are less happy and confident in all aspects of life than those in work,education or training.The respective index calculation for NEETs’ happiness is 60, for their confidence it is 64, bringing the overall Youth Index numberfor NEETs to 62.The individual figures for the different areas are shown in the table below for young people in general and for those who are NEET– figure 1.Figure 1: The Prince’s Trust YouGov Youth IndexALL young people ALL young people NEETs NEETsHappiness index Confidence index Happiness index Confidence indexWork 71 71 45 59Home or accommodation 77 76 69 68Community/ local area 69 69 63 63Family relations 80 82 73 74Relationships with friends 79 79 68 70Money 57 67 44 56Qualifications 78 77 67 66Physical health 71 75 64 68Emotional health 71 72 60 64OVERALL NUMBER 72 74 60 64YOUTH INDEX: 73 62
Emotional wellbeingYoung people were also asked to respond to a series of questions about their emotions. A clear majority (64 per cent) feel happyall or most of the time. However, according to the research, a significant number regularly feel isolated, unloved, down anddepressed.Happy or unhappy?Figure 2.1: Happy “all” or “most” of the timeFigure 2.2: Happy “rarely” or “never”801515%706064%12Percentage50403039%Percentage966%2010300ALL young people NEETs ALL young people NEETsk Young people are happy on the whole with only six per cent claiming to be happy “rarely” or “never”. However, for NEETs thisfigure increases to 15 per cent.Loved or unloved?Figure 2.3: Loved “all” or “most” of the timeFigure 2.4: Loved “rarely” or “never”801515%706062%53%1210%Percentage504030Percentage962010300ALL young people NEETs ALL young people NEETsk Young people were asked how often they felt loved, with one in ten saying they “rarely” or “never” felt loved. This figureincreases to 15 per cent for NEETs.
Figure 2.5: Other emotionsAll or most of the time3532%ALL young peopleNEETs3026%25Percentage20151015%15%10%19%7%15%50Down or depressed Isolated Rejected Ashamedk NEETs are more than twice as likely to feel down or depressed than their peers. They are also more likely to feel isolated,rejected and ashamed.Attitudes to lifeYoung people were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements relating to their attitudes to life.The majority (68 per cent) agree their life has direction. However, fifteen per cent appear to feel their life lacks direction, with thisfigure increasing to 42 per cent for NEETs.NEETs are more than twice as likely to feel they have nothing to look forward to in life. They also feel less valued by the peoplearound them and are twice as likely to claim they have lost their way in life.According to the research, one in four young people (25 per cent) claim to have felt suicidal, with this figure increasing to morethan one in three (35 per cent) for NEETs. See figure 3.Figure 3: Young people’s attitudes to life50ALL young peopleNEETs42%4033%35%Percentage302015%16%10%24%12%27%25%100My life does nothave directionI have lostmy way in lifeI do not feel valuedby those around meI have nothingto look forward toI have feltsuicidal
How unemployment affects lifeYoung people who are or have been unemployed were asked if their joblessness had affected their life in other ways. A quartersay it caused arguments with their family and more than one in five claim they lost the confidence to go to job interviews. Morethan one in ten admit that unemployment drove them to drugs or alcohol. See figure 4.Figure 4: Did unemployment impact on your life in other ways?504041%Percentage302029%28%25%22% 21%11%100I found it harderto get out of bedI found it harderto leave the houseI exercised lessIt caused arguments withmy parents/ other familyI lost the confidence to goto job interviewsI found it more difficultto speak to new peopleI turned to drugs/ alcoholAn undiscovered generationThe Prince’s Trust is launching a campaign reaching out to an undiscovered generation – those young people whosetalents and prospects have been dashed in the recession. The new campaign calls for Government, businesses andindividuals to help the charity raise £1m a week to support unemployed and disadvantaged young people. More thanthree in four young people on Prince’s Trust schemes move into work, training or education.
“For the firsttime in years, Ienjoyed havingto get up andto utilise mytime.”Cheryl PowellI left school at 16 with no qualifications. I struggled to get a job and by the age of 23 I wastaking amphetamine and smoking cannabis.When I finally found work, I had to cope with the trauma of losing three people very close to mewithin a month and this proved to be too much for me. I began to self-harm and take anythingI could to take my mind off things. I lost my job and began to lose contact with my friends. Islowly isolated myself from the world and spent the next five years in an abusive relationship. Icouldn’t leave my house without my mum having to collect me.Being unemployed and having so much time on my hands amplified all my other problems. All Ihad was time to think and stress out.Because of my lifestyle, I developed a duodenal ulcer which perforated and led to continuoushealth problems. I realised things would have to change. I had a criminal record, an erraticemployment history, no qualifications, no social skills, very low self-esteem and visible scars onmy arms. With a history like mine, I didn’t think anyone could help me.But then I found out about The Prince’s Trust Team programme. Joining Team literally turned mylife around. My Team Leader made me feel like I was worth something and I did have a purposein society. For the first time in years, I enjoyed having to get up and to utilise my time.Since completing Team, I have returned to support other young people through the programmeas a Team Leader. Being in work has helped me become happy and confident. Even now,the time I was unemployed still stays with me. I worry that if I lost my job I could slip back tothat old life and back to my old coping methods. I see rising levels of unemployment and I getscared that it might be me next. But I try to put it out of my mind and to focus on the here andnow. And my here and now has never been better.
“My overallhealth startedto deteriorateat this point -especially mymental health.”Mark RobinsonA year ago I was laid off from my job in a call centre. I couldn’t find work for months and appliedfor anything I could find. It really hit me hard. I was struggling for so long to find something.I didn’t really have any references which meant I wasn’t in a strong position when the jobmarket became much more competitive in the credit crunch.It was a really difficult time. Most of my friends were working and I didn’t have the money to doanything with them. When I did go out people would comment that their taxes were paying formy drinks and I would feel terrible. I ended up shying away from them and just staying in myroom on the internet.My overall health started to deteriorate at this point - especially my mental health. I was sodepressed about my situation that I started taking anti-depressants.I was at a very low point in my life when I heard about The Prince’s Trust’s Get into Maritimecourse.The course was fantastic. It taught me the basics of how to be a watersports instructor andhelped build my self-confidence. Following the course, I was then accepted on a six-weekprofessional instructor course with UK Sailing Academy and this led to me being offered a fulltimejob as a watersports instructor in Greece. My dream job!I now have a future I can look forward to and have finished with the anti-depressants.Everything feels different. I have a long-term plan and I know that I can make a success of mylife.
Supported byThe Prince’s TrustHead Office18 Park Square EastLondon NW1 4LHTel 020 7543 1234Email email@example.comWebsite princes-trust.org.ukFor more information about The Prince’s Trustvisit princes-trust.org.uk/undiscovered or call0800 842 842 for more information about ourprogrammes and support for young people.DSN 0971 © 2009 The Prince’s Trust is a registered charity, number 1079675, incorporated by Royal Charter.