What next for the corona generation? How Covid has impacted on our young people

What will the impact of Covid prove to be on our young generation?

What will the impact of Covid prove to be on our young generation? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A new report commissioned by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire gives a snapshot into the hearts and minds of young people during the pandemic. 

A series of focus groups was set up by the Lieutenancy earlier this year to hear directly from young people about the impact of COVID-19 on their studies, mental health and future aspirations. 

A total of 19 groups from 11 different organisations took part in virtual sessions between February 3 to March 19 including sixth formers from state secondary schools and colleges, cadets and one group from The Prince’s Trust Hertfordshire Team Programme. 

Their responses are captured in a report by Deputy Lieutenants Jo Connell and Marion Brown which demonstrates the impact COVID-19 has had on all aspects of their lives.   

Those taking part talked openly about the stress caused by the uncertainties surrounding their studies and their nervousness about going to university. Would they be behind in their learning, would they find themselves ‘locked’ in their room if there was another lockdown, what restrictions would still be in force? 

Very few had been able to find part time work due to restrictions and, as a result, had been unable to save for their further education. Generally, students were pretty pessimistic about opportunities, raising fears that employers might see them as ‘the corona generation’ with a disrupted education and meaningless grades and therefore less employable.  

Most of the students with previous mental health issues spoke of how this had deteriorated during the pandemic. They also spoke of peers, who had not had mental health issues previously, being affected. Some felt they had been blamed unfairly for the spread of the pandemic and felt very strongly that their voice had not been sought or heard.  

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Robert Voss CBE CStJ, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, said: “This is just the start of a vital countywide conversation between our young people, schools, colleges, universities, youth organisations and employers. By listening to the voice of youth and working together we can find out how best to support and empower them to go on to lead fulfilling, productive lives in the future. 

“The findings will also be taken forward by the Chambers of Commerce and other business representative organisations, with a view to strengthening links between local businesses and schools, colleges and the university to ensure the messaging and signposting around opportunities for young people in Hertfordshire is consistent and proactively communicated.” 

The report also asks questions to all those who have a stake in young people’s welfare and education to see what more can be done to provide support and assistance.  

The Lord-Lieutenant’s report highlights that now more than ever young people need to know where to access information to help make decisions about their future career paths, training and skills development options.  

Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal (HOP), powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is the county’s premier gateway connecting young people to future employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities. 

To help spread the word about this fantastic free resource, Hertfordshire LEP is offering £3,000 to the school or youth group that registers the most young people, parents and carers on HOP by 9th July 2021. The prize will be presented in person by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE CStJ.  

Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills and Employment Board (SAP) and Chair, Stevenage Development Board, said: “This report gives a snapshot into the very real hopes and fears of this generation and presents a fantastic opportunity to signpost young people to available sources of advice and support.

"That is why we are running this competition. I would like to thank the Lord-Lieutenant for his ongoing support in helping to raise awareness of this portal. Where there is HOP, there is HOPE!” 

View the report and competition: https://www.hopinto.co.uk/win-3-000-for-your-school-or-youth-group/