The Next Generation

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Housing, jobs and education are among the top concerns for young people in the UK today, according to a new report published by Demos, a leading cross-party think-tank.

The report entitled Next Generation UK was produced in connection with the British Council, and aimed to find out more about the attitudes and aspirations of resident young people aged 18-30. Among the key research areas included in the report are the UK’s place in the world, political and social engagement, and opportunities in education and work.

According to the report, young people identified unaffordable housing and a lack of jobs as the biggest challenges they faced, and singled out the NHS as the greatest national concern. There was divided opinion on the topic of education, with only 46% feeling that they had been adequately supported by the education system and that it had prepared them for the world of work. 49% of those asked did not feel that social mobility was effectively working in the UK today.

Findings were obtained through a variety of methods, including a nationally representative survey, comprising of 2,000 responses from individuals across the country; focus groups with young adults; and innovative analyses of social media. Two workshops were also held with a Next Generation UK Advisory Board, a group of 15 young adults who have steered the project and helped to develop recommendations.

Yet it was not all doom and gloom as a high-level public discussion took place on 13 September, celebrating the launch of the report with a Question Time inspired event. Politicians, policy-makers, the media and young people were brought together to discuss the future of youth engagement, including how young people can stay active citizens and remain both locally engaged and globally connected. Starting the conversation is just one of the first steps – to learn more about this event, and read the full report, please visit the project’s website.

Whilst findings from this study paint a challenging picture for young people today, we are always keen to report on the fantastic contributions being made across the country. Whether this is from young people themselves who are improving museums and galleries, or by the institutions who strive to develop greater access and engagement, there is much to be celebrated. Our annual Takeover Day is just one of the ways in which we champion this, celebrating the consistent contributions made by young people to museums and heritage sites, and allowing them to take on meaningful roles for the day. Our next Takeover Day is happening on 17 November – why not find out more about how you can get involved?

Becky MacNaughton, News Editor

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