Young people and Covid-19

Published in August 2020, this briefing presents the findings of a survey of young people (aged 11 to 19) undertaken in summer 2020.

The survey revealed that for many young people the pandemic has raised concerns about what the future may hold and the opportunities that may be available to them. It has also affected the factors they now consider important in making career decisions.

The survey has also provided insight into what and to what extent young people have been accessing careers activities and STEM engagement activities during lockdown. Our results show that while young people have sought out careers advice, this has predominantly come in the form of searching for information online or speaking to parents, with under a quarter having taken part in any formal careers education during lockdown, of which less than half was STEM-related.

Key findings:

  • The pandemic is deepening gender differences in career aspirations in engineering or technology
  • The gender gap when it comes to choosing a career in engineering or technology is still very much prevalent
  • Young people are concerned going to university or becoming an apprentice will be more difficult in the future
  • Job security and job availability are important factors for young people when considering their future career choices

Key recommendations: 

  • The government must ensure that young people have access to education, training, jobs and work placements in STEM
  • The government and organisations involved in STEM and STEM inspiration must do more to highlight how a career in STEM – and particularly in engineering – contributes to improving society
  • In its review of the existing careers strategy, the government must focus on ensuring that all young people, whatever their background, have access to good quality, formal STEM careers activities and advice

Download the briefing