New research by The Prince’s Trust and HSBC UK reveals today that young people in Wales feel worryingly disconnected from their communities.
The YouGov poll of 3,120 11 to 30 year-olds from across the UK measures a young person’s “stake in society” through factors such as the degree to which they feel people in their community care about them and whether they feel they can make an impact on their community.
31% of young people believe that people in their community do not care about them, and almost a fifth (19%) do not believe their actions have an impact in their community. When asked about positive influences, almost half of young people in Wales (47%) do not believe they have role models in their community.
“It feels great that I can now help those who aren’t as sure of their own skillset.”
Michael Penlington, 20, has lived in Rhyl his whole life. Michael did well in school, but when he fell ill during his second year of A-Levels, it had a significant impact on his grades. “I was a quiet and shy student, and didn’t have a clue where I wanted to go next, so I decided to try and find employment instead of applying for university.”
After a summer job came to an end, he came across The Prince’s Trust Cymru from a conversation with his advisor at the Job Centre.
“I took part in a Get Started with Cooking course first, before signing up to The Get into Retail Make your Mark programme a few months later. The programme really boosted my confidence and it felt great to gain employment at the end with M&S.”
The biggest challenge Michael overcame during his time with The Trust was standing up and speaking publicly about his experiences, which has since sparked an interest in pursuing a career revolving around helping people to develop themselves in North Wales.
Michael is now a Young Ambassador for The Trust and is giving back to the community.
“It is sad to see that so many do not feel they can get the support they need in the community. Since becoming a Young Ambassador, it feels great that I can help those who aren’t as sure of their own skillset. My confidence has grown with every event I attend, which has opened even more doors to connect with young people from Rhyl and beyond.”
He recently contributed to The UK2030 Taskforce visit to Rhyl share the experiences of local young people and hopes to be an active participant in the town’s regeneration. Since getting involved with The Prince’s Trust, Michael has found a stronger sense of what he wants to do with his life, hoping one day to pursue a career with the Police.
The apparent disconnect from communities could also be having an impact on young people’s aspirations. Nationally, the research suggests that, after the age of 20, young people are increasingly less likely to believe they will achieve their dream career. Thirty per cent of 21 to 25 year-olds who have not achieved their dream career still believe they can do so. However, this falls to just 23% of 26 to 30 year-olds.
Philip Jones, Director of The Prince’s Trust Cymru Trust said:
“Our research shows that young people in Wales are dangerously disconnected from their communities in early adulthood, at exactly the point when they should be more invested.
“We make it our mission at The Prince’s Trust to continually raise the aspirations of young people and give them role models to help them achieve in life. We need young people to know that their actions do matter.
“At The Prince’s Trust Cymru we are relentlessly practical and positive about how we can turn around young people’s lives, so that they have the chance to succeed. To enhance our work we have just launched UK2030, a taskforce that has the express purpose of increasing the opportunities for young people in self-employment and other employment settings. Our vision is that by 2030, we live in a country that puts the needs of young people first so that young people can meet the needs of their country.”
The research highlights how across the UK, a young person’s stake in society sharply declines between the ages of 15 and 25. Overall, those aged between 11 and 15 years-old have the highest stake in society with a score of 64, but this declines to 59 among those aged between 21 and 25.
Ian Stuart, CEO HSBC UK said:
“Every young person deserves the same chance of being connected to job opportunities regardless of where they live or their background.
“Positive role models are a key factor in raising aspirations and giving young people the chance to reach their full potential in their careers.
“We’re committed to supporting young people and have been working with The Prince’s Trust since 2012 to help over 33,000 young people get into work, training or education”.
The research comes as The Prince’s Trust UK2030 taskforce begins a series of field trips to determine how government, charities and businesses can support young people in the UK to have a stronger stake in society. The taskforce, made up of leading industry figures and young people, visited Rhyl in September to explore the experiences for young people from different backgrounds when it comes to employment and earning.