Karen Brodie, Director shares a few thoughts on recent experience with our youngest entries to the workforce.
Anxiety and lack of confidence is at an all-time high with a generation of children and young people being left behind due to soaring waiting times for mental health services. The support for mental wellbeing in our 15–25-year-old youngsters poses a far greater risk than the pandemic itself.
Young people have been “disastrously” affected by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, with happiness and confidence plunging to an all-time low. Compounded by soaring waiting times for mental health services the pandemic continues to have a huge impact on the future of the next generation.
As the Guardian wrote in January 2023 – Jonathan Townsend, the UK chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, which spoke to 2,025 young people aged 16 to 25, said: “The pandemic is still having a debilitating impact on young people’s plans, confidence and hopes for a positive future.
“The significant disruption to their education during this period has left these young people worried about their skills and qualifications, and lacking confidence in their ability to secure a job or achieve their future career goals.”
Half of the young people questioned said they were worried they had been left with permanent knowledge and skill gaps that would prevent them from getting jobs in the future.
Personally, I have noticed not only a lack of confidence in our young applicants but also a lack of soft skills through no fault of their own. Our new generation of youngsters have in many cases not been given time to develop the natural ability to communicate having been forced to isolate during a period that is hugely important in forming resilience and confidence.
I have found significant disruptions to key developmental milestones regarding relationships with self and others, and limited capacity for self-care.
As a result of the learning and confidence they had lost because of the pandemic, two-thirds of those questioned in the research said they had changed their education and career plans for the future.
Working with a few local youngsters I have been able to offer a little time and mentoring to gradually develop soft skills to enable them to have the confidence to engage in part time work or apply for a first-time job, skills which many of us took for granted in out teens and twenties.
For employers now recruiting new hires in this age bracket be aware that resilience is low in this age group and careful leadership, mentoring, buddying and extended kindness is needed to ensure that we develop our newest workforce to be strong and capable for the future.
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