How COVID-19 Has Impacted Today's Youth
The youth have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through impacts on the hospitality sector and the switch to online learning. Rising levels of long-term youth unemployment and inequalities should be addressed by the government.
The Covid pandemic has created the very real possibility that there will be a forgotten generation of 18-24-year-olds. In this paper, we propose the UK and devolved governments begin to consider the impact the past year has had on young adults as we begin to ease lockdown restrictions. This includes young adults who are in employment, education or training (NEET).
The government needs to ensure young people know where to access resources for both well-being and income support. This includes creating communication resources on their website and a social media campaign. This will allow young people to understand more about which income support schemes they may be eligible for as the unemployment rate continues to be high. Equally, this will mean young people will not feel isolated by knowing where to access mental health support.
As the economy slowly begins to reopen, we propose the government creates opportunities across the whole of the United Kingdom. The pandemic has shown us that job opportunities for young people can be spread across the UK by being more flexible about where people work. The government can lead the way in this by making this the case when employing young people in the public sector.
The pandemic has increased the levels of inequality in the UK. This is true for young people who often are on lower pay than older colleagues doing the same work. So, when young people were more likely to be on furlough (House of Commons Library, 2020) they did not receive the same level of support as older colleagues. This puts young people at a significant disadvantage as rent and the cost of living are generally not adjusted based on age. In light of this, we propose the government adopts a Universal Basic Income (UBI), at the living wage, for all people of working age.
Another area that has seen increased inequality is the gendered impact of the pandemic. In order to ensure young women are not left behind as we begin to leave the pandemic, this inequality must be addressed. We propose the government implements gender quotas within opportunities targeted at young people and enact a gender equality plan for the future.
This paper will set out in detail how the pandemic has affected young people and ways the government can prevent our generation becoming forgotten.