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COVID impacts ambition of disadvantaged young people

Young people from lower-income households have lowered their career ambitions, since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, as they fear their goals are now unachievable.

A new report by think tank The Social Market Foundation found thousands of young people in the UK are worried about their job prospects.

Young people from lower-income families were found to have less optimism, less career ambition and feel less equipped to compete in the job market, than those from higher-income families.

The pandemic’s impact on young people:

Coronavirus job crisis impacting young workers' mental health

COVID causing career lockdown for young people

Employers need government support to hire young people, report reveals

The report has called this ‘outlook inequality’ and described it as young people from different backgrounds having less belief in their ability to achieve their goals, which then goes on to impact their lives and career prospects.

While one third (30%) of young people said they expect to ‘end up in a dead-end job’ and that ‘people like me don’t succeed’, this rose to 43% among those from lower-income families.

A further 34% of young people said they do not feel equipped to compete in the job market, climbing to 52% among those from less affluent backgrounds.

British multinational supermarket Tesco has pledged to support younger members of the next generation of the UK’s workforce.

It has committed to helping over 45,000 young people build employability skills and jumpstart their careers in the next year, whatever their background.

Tesco will provide a range of potential opportunities to these young people, including continued participation in the government Kickstart Scheme and offering work placements as part of its 'Movement to Work' collaboration.

The retailer will also offer thousands of permanent roles for young people across the business as well as degree apprenticeships, graduate roles and a business diversity internship.

Natasha Adams, Tesco’s chief people officer, said inequalities in society are having a big impact on the outlook and chances of young people, and the pandemic has only made that harder.

She said: “A whole generation is grappling with the disruption that COVID-19 has caused to jobs and education.

“We must not allow a two-tier system to emerge where some are equipped with the confidence to get on and others are left behind.”

Adams said businesses like Tesco need young, diverse talent.

“We are committed to creating opportunities for all and want young people to see that everyone’s welcome at Tesco, whoever you are and whatever your background,” she added.

Young persons charity, The Prince’s Trust, has collaborated with Tesco to support vulnerable young people start their careers. 

Jonathan Townsend, UK chief executive at The Prince's Trust, said the charity will be working with Tesco over the next five years to reach more young people and support them into the world of work.

He said: "Young people’s employment prospects and aspirations have been hit hard by the pandemic and for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, it is harder still.

"This generation of young people have faced a disrupted education and now look to enter a volatile jobs market, so we need to make sure the odds don’t stay stacked against them."

Townsend said that more than ever, it is crucial that the charity works with partners like Tesco to support young people to upskill, train and access job opportunities.

"Long-term commitments such as these mean we can make a real difference to the lives of young people across the UK,” he said.