By the time socially excluded youths realise they are being left
behind, they already feel it is too late and there is nowhere left
to turn, new research shows.
Those aged between 14 and 17 are initially optimistic about
their chances of getting good jobs, but quickly become
disillusioned by the reality of low-paid, low-skilled work.
The report by the Prince’s Trust says young people with a
criminal record, who lack qualifications or who have a history of
drug or alcohol abuse, do not get a second chance to get their
lives back on track.
Although welcoming the government’s New Deal For Young
People, the report says more needs to be done by central and local
agencies to prevent social exclusion from taking root.
Almost two-fifths of the 14-17 year-olds surveyed said they
feared that bad behaviour had damaged their prospects. Half of
18-21 year-olds had come to realise they were being held back by a
lack of qualifications.
The survey included interviews with 900 youths including
ex-offenders, serving prisoners, the long-term unemployed,
educational underachievers and young people in or leaving care.
The report identifies critical points where more should be done
by statutory and non-statutory services to prevent further
disaffection. These include when young people leave education, when
young mothers are ready to return to work and when young offenders
are released from prison.
Sir Tom Shebbeare, chief executive of the Prince’s Trust,
said: “This research not only shows that many of these young
people are facing significant barriers, but – crucially – they
aren’t picked up soon enough while there is a realistic
prospect of getting their lives back on-track.”
Reaching The Hardest To Reach: Breaking Barriers? can be found