The true value of positive adult role models

The Prince’s Trust have just release their report ‘Youth Index 2013’. The findings are dispiriting, but there is an uplifting message too.

For five years, they’ve been measuring how confident and happy young people are about life now, and the future they feel is in store for them. The results show the lowest rating since the study was launched. Young people are not feeling confident, happy or hopeful. It’s not a positive picture.

The report finds that more young people are unemployed thanks to the recession, and they feel desperate about what the future holds. Unemployed young people feel unable to cope with day to day life, and are slowly losing what remains of their confidence. Depression is on the rise as a result.

However, through the provision of mentoring support, the Prince’s Trust has found something which makes a difference. Their mentoring programme offers young people support by offering inspiration and guidance towards employment, training or education opportunities. They count mentoring as an important influence on the chances of a young person and call for us not to underestimate the impact a positive adult can have.

Their Executive Summary states that: ‘Life can be difficult for young people who do not have access to sufficient support. There is a clear link between the levels of support a young person received whilst growing up and whether they are subsequently in employment, education or training.’

The Prince’s Trust is aiming to support 55,000 young people this year through a range of support channels, from personal development programmes, to pre-apprenticeship schemes and mentoring, to help them find jobs.

We hope that the work Friendship Works does to provide mentors for younger children between 5-16 goes some way to help avoid this crisis of confidence for these young people as they grow up to be faced with the challenges that are part of our current economic climate. Ultimately, more support through mentoring may be key to achieving this.

As the Prince’s Trust report points out, ‘achievement at school and having a positive role model while growing up are factors which alter the index significantly’.

Read the full report here: