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Young people share their thoughts about the future

Young people share their thoughts about the future

‘I don’t know many people who have followed their dreams, but I know a lot of people who haven’t and are depressed.’

‘I don’t know many people who have followed their dreams, but I know a lot of people who haven’t and are depressed.’

This perspective was shared by a determined psychology student and aspiring film-maker on a recent visit to the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. The group of 20 students from Mary Magdalene Academy had taken part in a short survey which focussed on their future and aspirations and produced unexpected results.

In the current economic climate the stories of the challenges that young people are facing punctuate the news, and the picture that is painted is bleak. In conducting the survey we discovered that most of the group planned to go to University in the belief that it would help create the necessary pathway to fulfil their aspirations, which we were surprised to discover, were not linked to the educational achievements of their parents; that it was important to them to follow a personal passion not just chase after money; they were also less influenced by peer pressure and more influenced by their teachers than we expected. They are willing to invest something in their future by taking up internships, apprenticeships and if necessary by volunteering; overall they were hopeful about the options and possibilities ahead. One less encouraging result that also emerged was that out of the 20 students invited to take part in the survey, only 14 responded and we confirmed that the absent responses were likely to belong to the members of the group that were struggling; the students most hard to reach and to support.

The survey had been constructed to as part of a workshop to demonstrate the place of research in the spectrum of our offer but also to expose young people to the many career choices that are available to them and to encourage them to think laterally. One of the teachers in the group stated that schools are often good at profiling the mainstream professional career choices, but not the less obvious or aspirational paths. The aim of the team who ran the workshop was to help the group explore the difference between being the researcher and being the subject of the research; it was also a way of reflecting on the place of unconscious processes in the way we thinking about and do our work.

Tavistock Institute has a long track record of work with children and young people and this initiative is linked to that work, but also to a growing stream of work that we are developing on with a focus on young professionals. A new model that uses group relations methodology will be a way of helping young people to recognise that the first boundary of leadership is self leadership. We are also able to offer training in research and evaluation skills as one of professional development offers.

For more information about our work with young professionals please contact Coreene Archer.

Survey findings compiled by TIHR Researcher / Consultant,
David Drabble.

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