This BBC news story from today is a very early reminder in the New Year of exactly why we are doing what we are doing. Research from the Prince’s Trust’s latest annual Youth Index (which questioned 2,136 16 to 25-year-olds) shows that many young people have serious difficulty coping with daily life and feel depressed, but that this is twice as likely for young people who are not in work, education or training i.e. “young unemployed” or “NEETs”.
This is something that can be tackled by reducing youth unemployment. The government rightly notes in its response to the article that youth unemployment has recently fallen. It also rightly notes that “full-time students” which are often counted in the youth unemployment figures should be discounted from the total. But that still leaves 626,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds in the UK – a huge number.
Finally, the Youth Index noted that many respondents felt they did not have anyone to talk to about their problems – something which clearly shows that schools and Job Centres are failing in their jobs and gives further urgency to the need for some kind of national mentoring programme for the young unemployed.