During Mental Health Awareness Week, it's important to raise awareness of the impact of mental health on young people and to promote the importance of creating safe and supportive work environments.
New research from specialist Wales-wide training provider, Itec, has revealed that poor mental health is the primary barrier to employment for teens, according to their parents.
In a survey of 1,000 parents of teenagers across Wales, the research found that 8 in 10 parents are worried about their teenager’s future (82%), with poor mental health topping the worry list at just under 70% (69.9%). Parents in living in suburban areas in Wales are the most worried about their teenager’s future (89.7%).
The research was previously released by Itec as part of Children’s Mental Health Week (6th – 12th February), just a few short months after investing in wellbeing software for learners undertaking the Jobs Growth Wales+ programme at its centres to provide tailored, evidence-driven health and wellbeing solutions.
The investment from Itec enables its regional centres across the country to monitor what issues are having the greatest impact on their learners. In turn, the team understand what areas of support to focus on, creating a positive emotional climate for the learners to succeed.
The Welsh Government’s Jobs Growth Wales+ programme, delivered by Itec, is designed to give 16-19 year olds the skills and experience needed to secure employment or progress to further learning. The programme is entirely unique and tailored to suit the needs of the individual learner and the mental health and wellbeing support offered by Itec follows this format to create a holistic, rounded curriculum.
The Red Dot 365 platform also raises awareness for learners to track their own mental health and wellbeing and understand what solutions work for them and why. The personal portal includes a ‘Red Dot’ feature available to the learner 24/7 that is directly linked to a qualified mental health therapist and coach at the press of a button, for times of crisis.
The survey also revealed that lack of confidence (36%), being ill-prepared (33%) and a lack of skills and qualifications (32%) are also seen as major barriers to employment by parents of teens in Wales – all of which are key development areas that Itec offers learners as part of the Jobs Growth Wales+ programme. Learners are given the opportunity to progress at their own pace with a flexible programme that can include work tasters, placements and even full-time roles with local employers, helping gain experience, confidence and eventually, employment.
Julie Dyer, Head of Operations at Itec said:
“With issues such as the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and continued economic and political uncertainty affecting the mental health of teens on top of the usual anxieties, it’s no surprise that the level of worry for parents in Wales is high, especially when it comes to their teen’s mental health.
“Our Red Dot 365 system gives us insights into the most pressing issues faced by our learners. We tailor our Wellbeing Wednesday activities in response to learners’ feelings – into town centres or museums for those feeling isolated, jewellery making workshops for those who need a creative boost or even exercise classes for learners who want to improve their health and fitness.
“Managing mental health can be a significant factor across different groups of young people who are looking to start a new course, training or find employment. At Itec, we want to remove as many barriers as possible for our learners and help them reach their full potential.”
Delivered by Itec, Jobs Growth Wales+ is a training and development programme for 16–19-year-olds helping them acquire the skills, qualifications and experience to get a job or get into further training. Understanding that no one person is the same, the programme is entirely unique and tailored to suit the needs of the individual learner.
Itec delivers Job Growth Wales+ at its centres in Cardiff, Newport, Torfaen, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, The Vale of Glamorgan, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend and Neath.