Not just any job, good jobs! Youth voices from across the UK

A report for the Health Foundation's 'Young People's Future Health Inquiry'

Orlando C |   | Institute for Employment Studies | Nov 2021

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This report takes a youth-centred approach to explore young people’s perspectives on what good quality work and support mean to them and the impact of the pandemic on their perceptions and experiences of work.

Before the life changing events of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Health Foundation's Young people’s future health inquiry identified that the needs of young people aged between 12-24 are often overlooked by policymakers. The last 18 months have meant that young people are now at the top of the policy agenda. Whilst largely unaffected by the virus itself, the containment measures have touched upon all aspects of young people’s lives, from missing education, being isolated from wider support networks through to greater risk of losing their jobs.

The government was quick to respond to the scale of need, putting in place employment schemes that buffered young people against the worst of the economic downturn and helping unemployed young people find new roles. The size and speed of the response demonstrated that, with impetus, the government can create meaningful changes in the labour market and improve young people’s employment prospects.

As the country now looks towards the future, policymakers must now ask what lessons can be learned from the pandemic – and, crucially - how can we create a fairer, more equitable labour market for current and future generations of young people?

This report comes at a critical juncture for the UK. The government faces significant challenges ahead, supporting people to recover from the multiple and varied blows dealt by the pandemic, alongside ambitions to address long-standing regional divides across the country. Delivering a better deal at work for young people should be at the top of this agenda, and this report sets out how employers and the government can work together to achieve this.