On World Youth Skills Day, our Impact and Evaluation Manager John Lee explains what our recent survey of our young competitors shows about how they’re coping with the coronavirus pandemic and their resilience at this challenging time.
Numerous research reports have warned about the negative impact that the coronavirus pandemic is going to have on the career prospects of young people. Which is why we recently set out our plan of specific actions we’re taking to help shape a better future for around 200,000 young people in the UK.
As part of our work supporting the students and apprentices who entered our competitions this year, we sent them a short survey asking how they feel COVID-19 has affected their future plans. The results were really interesting and relevant to the theme of this year’s World Youth Skills Day: ‘Skills for a Resilient Youth’, as they clearly demonstrate the resilience of the students and apprentices who go through out competition cycle.
Some of the key results include:
• The majority of apprentice respondents were positive about their current career and training situation with 85% saying that the coronavirus crisis had not affected their job and their apprenticeship remained secure.
• Additionally, most apprentices (64%) said that they felt as well supervised or taken care of as before the coronavirus crisis and almost two thirds (61%) also felt that their chances of being hired by their employer after finishing their apprenticeship were the same as before the pandemic.
This positivity about the future was reflected in some of the apprentice’s comments, such as “I feel confident about the future of myself and my company as they have shown a lot of resilience during this time.”
• Two thirds of students (66%) said that nothing had changed about their future career or education plans because of the coronavirus crisis but that does mean that over a third (34%) said that their future plans had changed.
• Interestingly, the students who replied to the survey were less confident about their future professional prospects due to the pandemic than the apprentices. 52% of students said they felt less confident about their future prospects, compared to only 27% of apprentices.
The experience of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic is seen to be beneficial for some of the young people who responded, by helping them develop their resilience and skills for dealing with difficult situations, with comments including:
“It has helped me understand how to handle a difficult situation.”
“I feel more confident as I’m working in the front line with COVID-19, I’ve seen and been in situations I’ve never thought I’d be in.”
We’re pleased to see that so many of those taking part in our competitions are still feeling secure about their career and education plans. However, we know that this won’t be the case for so many young people across the UK. Which is why at WorldSkills UK we are offering the support that all young people need during this time and we’ll continue to update our careers advice resources and digital tools as we adapt to the new normal.