As part of the Young people's future health inquiry, the Health Foundation is working with nine expert partner organisations to recommend that young people’s needs are put at the centre of government policy making.
Find out about the seven policy areas that we'll be focusing on. The final policy recommendations will be published throughout autumn 2019 and linked to from this page.
The Young people's future health inquiry sought to understand whether young people have access to the core building blocks of health – a place to call home, secure and rewarding work,and supportive relationships with their friends, family and community.
We selected nine expert organisations to provide a deep dive into these building blocks of health, focusing on seven key policy areas.
Find out more about the policy areas:
A safe and secure home is one of the key building blocks for a healthy future. Home ownership is now unaffordable for most young people, with a quarter of 24 to 35 year-olds owning their own home today compared to around half 25 years ago. Many young people live in the private rental sector for a large amount of time, often them to moving regularly, experiencing poor accommodation and unscrupulous landlords.
In Listening to our future the Health Foundation heard young people describing high-costs of housing, particularly private rental housing as a barrier to gaining independence and stability. We also heard of barriers to accessing housing, particularly if a young person was in insecure work or did not have a guarantor.
The Chartered Institute of Housing has set out the current context and trends in the rental sector that limit the accessibility and affordability of good quality housing, and developed recommendations for action. Read the blog and download the report:
Secure and rewarding work which offers scope for career growth is one of the key building blocks for a healthy future. In Listening to our future the Health Foundation found a number of the young people detailed a challenging work environment. Some were not able to support themselves financially and many were concerned about insecure work. A proportion were also undertaking jobs which they were overqualified for.
The Institute for Employment Studies conducted an analysis of young people’s current experience of the labour market and developed recommendations for further action:
Affordable, frequent and reliable transport infrastructure is necessary for young people to develop the assets needed for a smooth transition to adulthood. In A place to grow the Health Foundation uncovered the huge impact that transport is having on young people’s lives. We found the lack of infrastructure and high costs were significant barriers for young people and there were examples of them making different educational, employment and other choices because of the transport options involved.
Sustrans and the University of the West of England have explored how transport is affecting young people and developed recommendations for action:
Young people suggested rising pressure on academic performance in schools is enforcing a results-driven culture, with insufficient focus on real work experience and practical life skills. They highlighted this as a key factor for their mental health and emotional wellbeing across every location in A place to grow. Schools are a place where young people spend a large proportion of their time and the Health Foundation now seeks to understand the ways in which schools can play a positive and negative role in young people’s well-being.
The Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition and the Centre for Mental Health explore the impact of schools on wellbeing and develop recommendations for action:
Many young people who do not have access to financial support from either the state, from family or carers can fall through the gaps and find themselves without a safety net. This can lead to missed opportunities and can significantly impact on their future prospects. The Health Foundation found that young people who had a financial safety net, usually from parents, were able to take more positive risks, such as continuing with education or accepting work. This creates inequality in opportunity.
The Resolution Foundation has explored what level of safety-net is on offer from the state for young people and develop recommendations for action:
Young people suggested they need to be equipped with the skills that they need to succeed in the work place, and to define clear career goals rather than focusing solely on academic performance as a barometer for success. The engagement work undertaken in 2018 revealed that the academic track was being promoted to young people, without much exploration of other options. We also got a sense that there was marked geographic variation in what was on offer to non-academic young people. Furthermore, we met a number of young people who were struggling to re-enter education following a period in low-paid work.
The Education Policy Institute has explored the current routes available for young people outside of traditional academia and provide recommendations for action:
Youth services can provide structure and purpose, offer emotional support and the opportunity to develop skills and personal connections, which can be a gateway to employment or further education.
In A place to grow the young people across all of the locations we visited discussed the value they gained from youth services, including in developing skills they were not able to develop in an educational setting, along with the emotional support they received from their peers and service staff. Those working in youth services described the difficult choices they were having to make in an environment of reduced funding.
The Centre for Youth Impact has investigated the current challenges and opportunities that youth services are facing and provide recommendations for action: