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
Rosemary 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
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.
"What advice would you have for someone who has been
made redundant in the recession and is struggling to rebuild their
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
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.
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.
The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a
course that helps build confidence – find the local details on
"Do you think the job situation is going to get
Yes! We have to be positive.
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
"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
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
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?"
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.
You may want to look at www.thesite.org.uk as they have
lots of advice on how to deal with relationships, home life and
other issues that might be troubling you.
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
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 www.youthaccess.org.uk.
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
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
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?"
If you are completing lots of applications and getting no
response, it’s worth getting some support to improve your CV and
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
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
"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
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
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
"Why are young people being told they should look into
medication if a little depressed?? surely that should be a last
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
Talking about it is the first step.
"How do you define the difference between being down and
there being a medical issue?"
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?"
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
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?"
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
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?"
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
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?"
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
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.