Young people's happiness dips amid fears

24 January 2018, 07:18


Almost a third of young people in Scotland do not feel in control of their lives, an increase on the previous year, according to new research.

Uncertainty about employment and the political climate are among their concerns, the ninth annual Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index 2018 found. 

Across the UK, young people's happiness and confidence last year dropped to the lowest level since the index was first commissioned. The research found that 32% of Scots aged 16-25 do not feel in control of their lives, up from 24% in the 2017 report. 

It found that almost half of young people in Scotland (46%) fear that the economy will provide fewer job opportunities for their generation in the next three years. 

The study also found that more than half of young people in Scotland (51%) believe a lack of self-confidence holds them back. The unpredictable political climate is also taking its toll on young people, with almost two thirds (64%) saying it makes them feel anxious about their future. 

With 2018 designated Scotland's Year of Young People, the Prince's Trust is now calling on the Scottish Government and employers to focus on young people and provide them with the skills and confidence they need to thrive. 

Reece Hayes, Young Ambassador for Prince's Trust Scotland, said: "I felt like a failure applying for jobs, it was demoralising. Even when you secure work, it's often temporary, low paid, and not necessarily in the sector you want to build a career in. 

"The Prince's Trust Youth Index report tells us what young people already know - our generation face many challenges, and to succeed, we need people to believe in us, and give us a chance. 

"As 2018 is Year of Young People in Scotland, this research should be a wake-up call to Government and employers to invest in young people's confidence and skills to help us build a future where we can live, learn, and earn." 

The, survey of 2,194 young people, 182 of them in Scotland, found that almost a third (30%) of young people north of the border think getting relevant work experience is one of the biggest challenges in pursuing a career. 

However more than half (53%) think there are not enough jobs available in their local area. Nearly half of young people in Scotland (49%) worry about their finances while almost a fifth (19%) even think their life will amount to nothing, no matter how hard they try. 

David Fass, CEO of Europe the Middle East and Africa at Macquarie Group, said: "It is concerning to find that so many young people feel out of control and trapped in a cycle of unrewarding jobs. "At Macquarie, we are committed to investing in young people and are proud to support The Prince's Trust, which works across the UK to ensure that each and every young person has the opportunity and support to achieve his or her maximum potential." 

The online survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Prince's Trust between November 9 and 26 2017 

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We are determined this generation of young people has a bright future to look forward to - but this report highlights the real concern among many younger people about the opportunities open to them. 

"We have reduced youth unemployment by 40%, four years ahead of schedule, and are continuing to grow the successful Modern Apprenticeship programme to 28,000 for 2018/19 which, for the first time, will include graduate apprenticeships. 

"The Year of Young People is an opportunity to strengthen young people's voices and give them a greater say in decisions which affect their lives. We will continue to work with partners and young people to ensure their views are listened to and acted upon in 2018 and beyond."