Wellbeing: Half of young people worried about future

Three in five 16- to 25-year-olds feel more worried, anxious and depressed than before the pandemic, new research finds

Kate Parker

Covid and student wellbeing: Some 53 per cent of young people are worried about their futures, new research shows

More than half (53 per cent) of young people think their career prospects are getting worse, new research shows. 

The research, published by the UCL Institute of Education, also reveals that 44 per cent of 16- to 25-year-olds, particularly those who were in education, felt their learning of work skills had worsened as a result of the pandemic – while 58 per cent of those remaining in education thought that their learning had worsened. 

Three in five respondents felt more worried, anxious and depressed than before the pandemic, about half felt less useful and less optimistic about the future, and more than 60 per cent felt less connected to their friends and significant others.

The research analysed data from 1,000 young people in the UK who were interviewed between 5 and 12 February 2021.


FE commissioner: Principal Shelagh Legrave appointed

More: Youth unemployment 'will cost £6.9bn in 2022'

Background: Huge rise in young people classed as Neet


The research comes a few days after the Learning and Work Institute and the Prince's Trust warned that the level of youth unemployment will remain high even as areas of the economy recover.

And earlier this month data from the Office for National Statistics showed that almost 800,000 young people were classed at Neet (not in education, employment or training). 

The impact of Covid on young people's mental health

Professor Francis Green, lead author of the report, said the research confirms the heavy toll that the pandemic has taken on young people’s lives.

"The survey shows that the pandemic has had an effect on how young people see their future as well as their present state of wellbeing," he said.

"Coming into direct contact with Covid-19 themselves, or among their family and close friends, has failed to dent their optimism or life satisfaction. But those who perceived a detrimental effect on their job skills development due to the pandemic were less optimistic about their chances of finding a well-paid and enjoyable job, and had lower satisfaction with life.”  

Professor Green added: “Young women collectively experienced relatively greater negative effects on their wellbeing than young men. Wellbeing was also disproportionately worsened among all young people who were struggling financially before the pandemic.”

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

headshot KP

Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateeParker

Latest stories