top of page

Distinctive experiences of young migrants




Young people who have migrated from other countries face additional challenges relating to their transitions. These include:  

  • Their non-UK qualifications not always being recognised. In some cases, this results in them being enrolled for qualifications at a lower level than they are capable of studying. We are also seeing potential evidence that English language skills are being used as an indicator of aptitude when young migrants are being placed within VET programmes. These are issues we hope to further investigate in future waves of data collection.


  • Young migrants having to rely on advice from parents who themselves are not always familiar with the English education system because they cannot access professional careers guidance.

  • A lack of access to sufficient English as an Additional Language support in schools and colleges.

  • Having to navigate online learning, settle into schools and communities, establish friendships, learn English and make decisions about their futures while contending with pandemic containment measures that have made all of these things even more difficult. 

Friendships are critical for young people and our participants from migrant backgrounds speak of their friends as an essential resource and support network that helped them to overcome the isolation they often felt on first arriving in England, negotiate an unfamiliar education system and enhance their sense of belonging to their school or college environment.


That communication between schools and colleges and young people from migrant backgrounds is so often facilitated by other young people suggests that there are gaps in support from schools and colleges for recently arrived young people, and that not having friendship networks to rely on may disadvantage them in their post-school transitions.


Taken together, these findings point to the need for fairer course admissions practices, high quality independent careers advice, specialist EAL provision, and a strengthening of social and emotional support for young migrants in schools.

Young people who have migrated faced additional challenges relating to their transitions

More of our findings

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

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

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.

bottom of page