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The impact of covid

The pandemic has significantly impacted young people’s lives and post-16 transitions


Most of the young people we spoke with in our first round of interviews found the shift to remote learning difficult. This was often because they didn't have the resources or equipment to participate in their studies effectively, and/or because they found it difficult to concentrate on, or ‘keep up’ with, their lessons online. This was a particular problem for young people on vocational courses who had been attracted by the more practical, hands-on nature of these courses, but who were instead confined to classroom-style learning. 


Many participants also expressed concern about the impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health, and the difficulties of accessing support while in lockdown. At a time when young people needed more support, many of our participants’ testimonies suggest they were largely left to navigate these challenges on their own, drawing from their own resources and social networks.


While there are heroic stories of schools going ‘above and beyond’ to develop creative approaches to supporting young people whose mental health has been affected by the pandemic, more generally it would seem that funding constraints coupled with pressure on teachers to get students through exams are limiting young people’s access to meaningful social and emotional support at school.

This is an area we hope to be able to explore further in subsequent waves of data collection. 

More of our findings

Nearly 1 in 2 young people experience school as something they need to 'get through'.

The post-16 transitions through VET of the young people we are speaking with were often non-linear and disjointed.

Non-university routes into employment come with distinctive barriers or challenges.

Uneven quality and availability of careers information, advice and guidance.

Many young people turn to their family networks for careers support and/or work opportunities.

Young people who have migrated face additional challenges relating to their transitions.

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