IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


New project to examine youth employment and wellbeing during the pandemic

5 November 2020

A new UCL Institute of Education (IOE) project examining the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts on youth employment, learning and wellbeing has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Young woman wearing a face mask in the coronavirus pandemic. Image: Gustavo Fring via Pexels

The 18-month project, led by Dr Golo Henseke (Department of Education, Practice and Society) will look at transitions from school into jobs and post-18 education, local support and careers education initiatives, and the effects of the pandemic on internships and training.

The researchers will also investigate how optimistic young people are about the future, and the impact the pandemic is having on their wellbeing.

Through using longitudinal quantitative and qualitative methods, the team will see how the pandemic has affected people across different regions, ethnicities, genders, ages and with differing educational attainment and job skills.

By doing this, the research will show how career planning, skills acquisition and local employment support initiatives can come together to help young people to maintain employment, get back to work, and develop productive skills.

Together with international collaborators at the Institute For Employment Research (Nuremberg), the Economic and Social Research Institute (Dublin) and Statistics Canada (Ottawa), the team will compare the UK trends to developments in Canada, Germany and Ireland. The research aims to identify ways to avoid long-term 'scarring' effects from the pandemic for young people's careers and lifetime earnings.

Dr Henseke said: "We are at a critical juncture. Lockdown has returned. With it, any last hope for a swift economic recovery has evaporated. Despite unprecedented government support, the pandemic has already hit young people's employment prospects hard with potentially adverse consequences for their experiences of security, future planning, and mental wellbeing. Urgent evidence is needed to establish what works to protect young people from the pandemic's labour market consequences now and in the longer-term. With this project, we want to narrow this evidence gap."