Young people across Ireland fear lack of opportunity following Covid pandemic says Co-operation Ireland survey

Young people across Ireland fear lack of opportunity following Covid pandemic says Co-operation Ireland survey

Wed 11 Nov 2020 by Evan Short

A survey of young people across Ireland has revealed that they are passionate about playing a part in society but fear a lack of employment will undermine their future.

Political instability, COVID-19 and environmental issues have all been revealed as priorities for young people between the ages of 12 and 20, according to a poll carried out by peacebuilding charity Co-operation Ireland.

570 young people from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who take part in the charity’s programmes said they remained largely hopeful for the future (82.4 per cent) and were committed to playing a constructive role in society (89.4 per cent).

However when asked, their greatest concerns were for the future of the economy and how the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic would impact their employment opportunities (87.7 per cent).

Environmental issues (43 per cent) and equality (17 per cent) were also raised by the young people as priorities.

The survey was carried out as Co-operation Ireland launched a new Future Leaders Programme which has been designed to give young people the skills to become ambassadors for their generation.

Participants will be afforded the opportunity to meet with elected representatives and business leaders to reflect their hopes and concerns for the future.

Co-operation Ireland CEO Peter Sheridan said the programme would form the core of the charity’s strategic plan moving forward.

“Ireland has statistically the youngest population in Europe with 39 per cent of the population under the age of 29. If we look at Northern Ireland, that figure according to the last census is similar at around 38 per cent.

“Young people like all of us are affected by the difficulties of the era – Covid, Brexit, border polls, mental health, exam results, jobs – but in the Co-operation Ireland Future Leaders programme they are committing themselves not to accept conditions as they exist but rather to take responsibility for changing them.

“Each participant has a unique mind and story and aspirations for the future and the Future Leaders programme is an opportunity for them to develop who they are through leadership training, mental health training and much more. With their energy and enthusiasm, they can become role models for young people of the future.

“Of course, the future is uncertain but we believe that through this programme they will feel more equipped to handle whatever curve balls life throws at them.”

Co-operation Ireland has recruited a significant number of private ambassadors from business communities across this island as well as from Britain and the United States to fund the programme.

Their financial and hands-on programme delivery support will provide Co-operation Ireland with the independence required to enable our young people to lead in how the programme is designed and delivered.