Exclusive: More than a third of young people have 'lost hope' over future aspirations due to Covid-19 pandemic

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rachel Younger

Desperate jobseekers have told ITV News of the gruelling process of unemployment triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as new figures released exclusively to ITV News reveal more than a third of young people have "lost hope" over their future aspirations.

A recent graduate in Music Business told ITV News she has relentlessly applied for jobs including 30 positions a day - and cannot even get a bar job as unemployment sweeps across the country.

Julia Bernat, who has prior experience in bars and restaurants, said: "It really messes with my self-esteem, especially being a person who's gotten a First in a degree."

"I'd love to get a graduate job but if I can't even get a bar job or a pub job, it's very demeaning and it really ruins my self-esteem knowing that I can't get the most basic of jobs with a lot of experience."

Ms Bernat said she would like to get a full time job, in order "to survive in Birmingham because at the end of the day it is a city and the rent needs to be paid."

According to the Prince's Trust, at least one in three young people have abandoned their job aspirations for the year ahead due to the Covid-19 crisis.

More than a third of 16 to 25-year-olds also feel they will "never succeed in life", the research shows.

The research, carried out by Censuswide, shows 44% of 16 to 25-year-olds have said their aspirations for the future are now much lower as a result of the Covid crisis.

When asked about her future goals, Ms Bernat said: "I'd love to work for a label, I work the realms of electronic music, I'm currently a blogger and I love doing that and I love the music industry as a whole."

"The dream eventually is to own my label or work on live events when they are back up running." 

She added: "It's one of the industries that has taken the biggest hit in the whole country and from recent years it's due to take a bigger hit and it's not feeling too hopeful right now, it's looking likely that to be able to progress in the music industry as I'd like to I'm going to have to move out of the country. 

More than 11% of young people also said the job or training they were about to start has been cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

The research also shows how 41% of young people believe their future goals now seem "impossible to achieve", with this rising to 50% of those surveyed from poorer backgrounds.

A 23-year-old, who has spent more than four years training to become a pilot, has told ITV News of the "catastrophic impact" the coronavirus pandemic has had on him and his career.

Dan Price said: "Coming to the end I was obviously extremely excited, it was going to be a massive four years over and done with all the hard work and dedication and stuff that I'd sacrificed and the money spent involved with it."

He added: "Obviously this whole Covid thing, you could sense it coming but you didn't actually realise the reality of how it was going to hit the next day."

"The impact has been catastrophic really, overnight it's been all taken away. There's been no jobs whatsoever, there's guys and girls losing their jobs, there's not going to be any jobs happening out there for who knows how long. Just feel fortunate to have anything." 

UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust, Jonathan Townsend, said the findings reveal how the pandemic has not only disrupted education but "eroded" young peoples' confidence for their future.

Mr Townsend told ITV News: "We've seen young people who are losing hope about the future, young people are getting anxious about thinking about the future and we are seeing that is particularly exasperated from young people in poorer communities."

"The information showed us that more than 50% of young people when they are thinking about the future feel a sense of hopelessness and I think that is a really challenging time."

Mr Townsend said: "This should be a brilliant time for young people, they should see opportunities ahead of them. They should have that aspiration and ambition and I think knowing that that's not there is a real challenge for all of us and one that we must all take seriously."

He added: "It is truly a responsibility for all of us to ensure the odds don’t stay stacked against these young people.

"We must support them to upskill, retrain and access job opportunities, or else we risk losing their ambition and potential to long-term unemployment - to the detriment of their future and to the recovery of our economy."