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Your Future Career Q1 2023

Support for young people struggling with education or work decisions

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Thought Catalog

Magda Knight

Director of Content and Marketing, Youth Employment UK 

The findings of the 2022 Youth Voice Census, the largest annual survey of young people in the UK, reveal that young people are struggling to make ‘safe’ choices about their future. 

The survey found that only 14.2% of young people were ‘confident’ they could find quality work nearby. In 51% of young people aged 19+, mental health challenges were their biggest barrier to accessing work. Approximately 52% of those in work cited anxiety as their biggest barrier to progress. 

Helping young people advance further 

It stood out that 77.8% of undergraduates enjoyed studying their chosen subject, but only 50% thought university was value for money; and 57.1% of university students thought their financial issues were challenging. 

To address this, organisations and employers are joining the dots to provide structured and consistent support. For example, Youth Friendly Employer ABP Foods offers carpooling to help young, rural workers get to work and build connections. The Swap Don’t Drop campaign aims to reassure and inform students worried about continuing their college or university course. 

How to make education easier for young people 

Reasons for wanting to drop out of college or university might relate to finance, health, wellbeing, stress or not enjoying the course. It’s okay — we all have a change of heart sometimes. 

Ask for support: College and university staff can advise you and put you in touch with student support teams. 

Change your course: You can often change your programme if you’re not enjoying it or want a change of direction. Ask your lecturer or admin team what the options are. 

Have a goal in mind before making big changes.

Explore alternative options: If finances or the learning process is an issue, you can combine qualifications with a salary through apprenticeships or degree apprenticeships. Ask staff about available opportunities. 

Work towards a goal: Have a goal in mind before making big changes. Look for opportunities that tie into why you did the course — not just ones that tie into the knowledge you’ve gained from it. 

Reassessing outlooks on work 

Is leaving the only option? Raise concerns with your manager; their quick fixes could turn your job into one you enjoy. 

Making snap decisions? A chat with your manager will help you gain clarity. React to facts, not solely feelings. 

Planned your next move? Research ways to land on your feet. Shape up your CV. Find and apply for new opportunities. Hand in your notice when you’re ready.  

Changing your mind can lead to a better future — if you feel prepared, informed and supported in your decisions. 

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