Why We Are Failing Young People

I don’t normally start my blog articles with a negative title, but this one is different.

I have had the pleasure of working with The Prince’s Trust for many years – The Prince’s Trust. I work to support disadvantaged young people in two ways: Mentor and Coach. As a Mentor, I work with young people in either personal aspects of their lives or their business. As a Coach, I provide Public Speaking skills to Young Ambassadors who share their ‘life journey’ in front of often large audiences. This takes both skill and confidence.

However, I believe that self-confidence, self-belief and self-esteem are at an all-time low. This depressing fact is borne out of a report commissioned by the Trust – Youth Index 2018. The report reveals that the happiness and confidence young people feel in their lives has fallen to their lowest levels since the study was first commissioned in 2009. But what are the reasons for this?

The report highlights a staggering deterioration in young people’s confidence in themselves and their future. The research reveals that young people across the UK fear for their emotional health more than ever before, as worries about the future, money and generally ‘not being good enough’ pile up on them. While the invaluable work of the Trust continues to make an impact, it seems like young people are swimming against the tide. The proliferation of social media amongst young people does not help – Social media for young people. But at a fundamental level, what more can be done?

Disadvantage in society will always exist in one form or another, but we can start in early education. We must support every young person to express themselves openly, honestly and without fear of judgement. We must create an environment in which young people are able to present, communicate and debate without fear of contradiction or stigma, or being told that their opinions are not valid. As a society, we need to make communication skills a mandatory part of the national curriculum. Only by taking these radical, pragmatic steps will we begin to see a new generation emerge of more confident young people proud of their heritage, background and opinions.

If any young person, group or class need help, support or coaching to improve their communication skills please contact Duncan at Eaglei.