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Youth Index 2012

Youth Index 2013 live webchat

On Thursday 17th January at 12.30pm The Prince’s Trust held a live webchat focusing on issues that affect young people today – including unemployment and mental health.

The Prince's Trust webchat teamRosemary Watt-Wyness, The Trust’s director of strategy and policy, joined Georgia Hardie, a Trust-supported young person, and Kate Hodges from Zurich Community Trust to answer your questions live. NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group chair Dr Tony Banerjee was also part of the panel.

This follows on from the launch of The Prince’s Trust Youth Index 2013, which gauged how young people feel about the state of their lives today and how confident they are about the future.

The webchat

"What advice would you have for someone who has been made redundant in the recession and is struggling to rebuild their confidence?"

- Richard

Georgia says:

I had a friend with two jobs and she was made redundant from both. My advice was to pick yourself up and keep trying, even though it felt tough. She kept trying and now has two jobs again! Don’t give up and take all opportunities, even if they are not what you want to do in the long term.


"I have been unemployed for two years now – since I left college. I have applied for hundreds of jobs and rarely get asked to attend an interview. Those I do I’m always unsuccessful. My confidence is at an all time low and I feel depressed and really unhappy with my life. All my friends seem to be doing really well in their jobs and I feel so left behind and like I have no-one to talk to. I can’t see a future for myself anymore. What should I do?"

- Claire

Dr Tony Banerjee responds:

I think that a good first port of call would be your GP to have a discussion with him about your mood and confidence issues - there may be something he or she can offer you whether that be in the form of medication or signposting you to the appropriate area eg counselling. The Jobcentre offers employment and training advice but also the Citizens Advice is an often overlooked resource which could offer valuable advice.

You've not mentioned your area of interest but the chances are that there will be a successful company doing just that in your city ready to offer work experience or internships - write to them - the worst they can say is no and the best case scenario is that you bolster your CV.

Kate adds:

Volunteering work is a great way to boost your confidence and help you into a job. Contact your local volunteer bureau and they will help you find options close to you.

Georgia adds:

The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a course that helps build confidence – find the local details on their website.


"Do you think the job situation is going to get better?"

- Craig

Kate says:

Yes! We have to be positive.

Georgia adds:

It’s hard right now, I am a bit worried about people thinking young people are lazy. Young people need to be given a chance to prove themselves, we need to break the barriers and open people’s eyes.


"I finished school with ok qualifications and have had a couple of jobs since in shops and in a factory. I’m out of work at the moment but don’t know where to look. I’d do anything!"

- Grant


Definitely try The Prince’s Trust, they can help with your CV and think about your future.


I wanted to be a carpenter, but it didn’t work out as I wasn’t very good at it. However, my trainer saw that I had good organisations skills and suggested I become a manager. I laughed at the time, but now I am a supervisor and hope to be manager one day.


You need people to help you identify the skills you have – it’s often easier for someone else to see your strengths. Get some help with your CV because two heads are better than one. This can also boost your confidence.


"After school I started a two-year bricklaying course but towards the end of the course, I was having a difficult time at home and I started calling in sick and going out late with my friends. I decided I wasn’t enjoying the course anymore and decided to quit, just a few months before I qualified. I really regret this now and I feel like I’ve totally messed up my chances of getting a job. What can I do next?"

- Ravi


My company SDP run a training course called Live Train and they help not just with the skills, but with mentoring 24/7 to help with issues with your home life.

Kate adds:

You may want to look at as they have lots of advice on how to deal with relationships, home life and other issues that might be troubling you.

Rosemary adds:

We work with lots of young people who have faced similar struggles and feel they are not making progress. Don’t give up, we have so many examples of young people who do move to a positive future despite their backgrounds. Hopefully, one day you’ll find your past experiences have been helpful.

The Prince's Trust Get into Construction programme could be an option – have a look on our website for courses near you.


"I was made redundant last year because the company I worked for went into administration. I have struggled since then to find work – even voluntary work. Over the last few months I’ve avoided seeing my friends because I feel embarrassed about my situation and feel sad all of the time. My mum suggested I visit my GP but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. What else could I do?"

- Maria

Answer from Dr Tony Banerjee:

Well as a GP who sees probably sixty patients a day, I can tell you that your situation is certainly not an unusual one, particularly in this current economic climate. I have full sympathy for your situation but you need to take pro-active steps to put things right - far too often people can bury their heads in the sand - your GP is here to help you through difficult times in your life and will be able to explore the way that you are feeling in more depth and also offer you the right management for what you need - try it and see!


There might also be a local youth drop in centre that can give you some advice and counselling. Have a look at


It’s important to talk to someone – don’t be scared. I had my Centrepoint worker to talk to and he gave me a kick up the backside. Be honest with your friends, if they are real friends they will be strong with you and you can keep in touch without spending money.


I agree, talking to your GP is a good idea. You will be in charge of the situation, it needn’t all be about medication.


Eat well and take some exercise - this will also help.


"My nephew has been out of work for some time and I can see it’s getting him down. I’m close to him but don’t know how to help. What can friends and relatives do to support young people who are struggling?"

- Emma


Help them build their self esteem and confidence. You can also help put a CV together.


Family can really help with confidence. The little things that you don’t realise can make a big difference, like helping and encouraging them in social situations like going to the shops. I used to lack confidence dealing with people on the phone, but my sister helped me out and gave me a push.


There’s lots of support from organisations. You can help by putting them in touch – we get lots of calls from friends and relatives and it’s a really helpful first step.


"A lot of the Youth Index figures show the tough side of being a young person in today’s tough job market. Is there any positive news?"



The good news is that most young people are happy with their lives and the index hasn’t got much worse during the recession. For those young people who are struggling, there is more support available through The Prince’s Trust.

Zurich Community Trust funded the Working for Wellbeing project with The Prince’s Trust. This adds mental health support on the Team programme, through Team Leaders and student social workers. This can provide counselling and signpost young people to the help they need.


This support has been incredible and the learning has changed the way the Trust works, helping over 8,000 young people to date. The results of the Youth Index are challenging us all to do more.


"One of my friends has been unemployed for six months and is starting to feel really depressed because she isn’t hearing back on any of her jobs applications. I’m not sure what advice to give her and I’m starting to get really worried about it. Do you have any thoughts?"

- Sophie


If you are completing lots of applications and getting no response, it’s worth getting some support to improve your CV and covering letters.


Volunteering is a good idea. Give your time free to an organisation and it may lead to a job.


If you are unemployed then volunteer – this will improve your CV. We also have lots of examples where this has directly led to a job.


Try to get help and make your CV stand out. Volunteering is a great way to prove yourself. It’s great your friend has got you to talk to. Maybe you could help find training courses or jobs online.


"My friend and I have been looking for work together for the last few months but I saw on Facebook yesterday that she’s now got a job. Lots of my other friends are also work and it’s really getting me down that I haven’t found anything. I can’t talk to my friends about it as they won’t understand. Do you have any advice?"



It can feel dreadful if you feel you are being left behind, but your friends will have had similar feelings. Be open and honest with them and talk to them about how you are feeling and think positively about how they could provide connections and opportunities where they work. Don’t cut yourself off from them.


We’ve all been through that position of searching for work, going for interviews, get feedback from your friends – they can identify your strengths, maybe hobbies and experiences that could help. They will see things in you that you may not see yourself.


"Why are young people being told they should look into medication if a little depressed?? surely that should be a last option!"

- @‏inspirashaun7


There are a range of options to help deal with depression. The GP may recommend medication, but there are a whole range of other things that may help. Talking to people, nutrition, exercise, group sessions, counselling can all help – it depends on the individual. GPs can talk about all of these options.

If you are feeling depressed, don’t do nothing – work out what’s right for you. If you are nervous about talking to your GP, then contact a local counselling or youth organisation – there’s lots of advice online.


Talking about it is the first step.

"How do you define the difference between being down and there being a medical issue?"

- @TJFencing


It’s difficult to define this yourself, you need to get a professional opinion. But you could see if changing your diet and getting some exercise helps.


If you are worried it may be a medical condition this is a prompt that you should at least speak to a GP


Don’t be anxious or afraid to talk about it to someone.


"I work with young people and see a number of different issues that they face on a daily basis including homelessness, poverty and depression. I recently read about your Youth Index and it didn’t really surprise me that one in ten young people struggle to cope with daily life. A lot of the time young people feel ashamed about these circumstances and don’t want to speak to anyone like their friends, families or doctors. How can we ensure that this stigma is lifted?"

- James

From Dr Tony Banerjee

More publicity in the media, raising the profile of the problem - the people involved know that it is a problem but the rest of the world just carries on because we're all so busy in our day jobs.

If the profile was raised then we could do some serious work with local employers to try and offer some work experience or internships to try and bolster their CVs - there is little doubt that the three areas you discuss - homelessness, poverty and depression - are inextricably linked and employment is the key to solving these issues. If there is a genuine feeling of depression then we would actively encourage that patient to come and see their GP to discuss this further - the earlier the intervention usually the better the outcome.


When I first started my course I didn’t talk about being homeless and Centrepoint in case people were shocked. When my confidence grew I started to talk about it. Not everyone has a strong upbringing, so it’s important to talk about these things. I feel I can be more open now.


We have come a long way to break the stigma. The Time to Change campaign has helped, MPs and celebrities are talking about their own mental health issues. But we have a long way to go.


"Is there any hope for disabled or mental health 16-25 year olds, or are we the lost generation?"

- @LianneLlw


There are some positive signs that things are getting better. Zurich Community Trust has also funded setting up the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition – 14 leading charities who are campaigning to bring about better services. One of the key achievements has been to get children and young people covered within the government’s new mental health strategy, so it is being looked at more seriously at local and national levels within the new NHS structure.


For some disabled people, life is still really tough. But we need to be hopeful and make sure people get the support that is available.


I would say charities and support are opening up more and trying to move forward. It may not be perfect, but it is going in the right direction. Don’t give up hope.


"What can executives and non-executive directors do to increase the chances of young people?"

- @CadencePartners


We’ve been working in partnership with The Trust for four years now. The relationship has been only positive. The impact delivered to around 10,000 young people has been tremendous and The Trust is great to work with. It’s also helped us to achieve our objectives of brining about social transformation.


We could only achieve so much – helping 55,000 young people this year – with the support of businesses, so give us a call or drop us an email. There are so many ways you can help.


Keep an open mind, give young people a change, for example offering volunteering opportunities.


"My brother has been applying for jobs and recently got an interview, but after a few days has found out he didn’t get the job. He’s feeling really down about it and I’m worried that he won’t feel confident enough to keep looking for jobs. Is there anything I can do to help him?"

- Charlotte

Dr Tony Banerjee

Again, this is indicative of the economic downturn that we have seen over the last few years - there is no doubt that a failure to secure a job having made it to interview is a big blow to one's confidence but remember that there are plenty of other opportunities out there.

He needs to write to the interviewer and get some constructive feedback in order to know where he can improve his CV or interviewing technique - there are free classes at most adult education centres to help with this. It would probably be a good idea for him to go and see his GP to ensure that there is no significant mental health problems as a result of this situation.


Some final thoughts from our panel:


Keep looking at all of the options, don’t just stick to one area. Think about The Prince’s Trust and Live Train as options. Stay positive, stay strong.


Stay positive, keep talking, if you are a young person keep fit, stay healthy. Talk to your friends and get help through school or other organisations. Parents and friends should do all they can to help those in need.


Don’t feel ashamed and isolated – if you are unemployed it may feel horrible, but don’t let that hold you back. Things will get better. Stay in touch with friends, take positive steps. Despite a difficult start in life and feeling absolutely awful, we meet young people who have turned things around and are now shining lights and an inspiration to others.

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Youth Index 2013

Our 2013 Youth Index found that 1 in 10 young people feel unable to cope with daily life. Find out more about the survey.

The Prince's Trust Youth Index 2012