Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Change is needed to preserve young people’s futures, says JET boss

Jon Egging Trust (JET) CEO, Dr Emma Egging is calling for change if the nation’s young people are to be given the opportunity to thrive.

“Right now, every young person in the UK is at a disadvantage,” she said. “16-24-year olds are seeing the biggest fall in unemployment whilst those from low socio-economic backgrounds are hardest hit. It is clear that Covid-19 will continue to affect lives and livelihoods into 2021 and far beyond.”

The charity, which specialises in delivering early intervention life-skills programmes, is seeking to support more young people and teachers than ever by introducing a new digital toolkit, ‘JET Inspired’.

The first series of films and resources which have been developed in partnership with the Red Arrows and licenced by the Ministry of Defence to help young people to reengage with education and learn key emotional skills that will enable them to feel positive about their futures.

JET Inspired offers a unique and accessible learning programme that provides young people with the confidence and emotional-toolkit to overcome adversity, identify their strengths and reach their full potential.

JET’s Area Director for the South, Allie Hack comments: “Working with young people who have experienced challenges and difficulties in their young lives shows that often their response is to keep things safe.

“Where they have experienced trauma or events which have damaged their self-belief and confidence, young people do not want to push themselves to experience events that might further set them back. This limits their ambitions and leads to a lack of confidence academically and socially.

“Opportunities pass them by, they don’t see themselves as candidates for positions of responsibility and yet often they are extremely resilient individuals.

“Our programmes allow such young people to reach higher, see the value in their views and invest in their own ambitions.”

With growing awareness of the plight of young people and the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health, JET wants to see more emphasis placed on providing the emotional toolkits in schools to support young people in making the right choices.

JET knows that their work is vital to changing the lives of younger generations who are increasingly disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19, and with current uncertainty the need is more critical than ever. With ten years of experience, JET knows that what they do for young people, facing challenges in their lives, works.

Bethany, now aged 19, took part in JET’s Blue Skies Programme from 2013-2016 and found it an immensely constructive experience that has helped shape her decisions.

“Bethany was selected for one of JET’s intensive programmes from 2013-2016 because she had low self-esteem, wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after school and was disengaging from learning as a result,” said Emma.

“When I spoke to Bethany last week she had just finished a 4hr shift at Sainsbury’s, followed by a 5hr shift at Lloyds Bank. Bethany currently works two jobs and despite being in the midst of a pandemic affecting the futures of every young person in the UK, Bethany was in great spirits. She explained that despite working 6 days a week and doing some really unsocial hours, she was happy to be in employment when so many of her friends have lost their jobs.

“Not only that, working two jobs enables her to rent a house with her boyfriend and save up for her degree. Bethany explained to me that she was due to start a psychology degree this year (with the aim of doing a one year law conversation at the end), but these plans had to be placed on hold due to the crises.”

Bethany added: “The Jon Egging Trust made me the person I am today. Every skill that I have, comes from the foundation that JET built with me when I was just 12. Every year with the programme I developed these skills and my personality blossomed.

“I love who I turned out to be and I owe it all to JET. Life isn’t easy for young people nowadays, there is always pressure to study but also to work and to build a life for yourself. If you study more than you work then you lack experience and if you work more than you study you lack education and qualifications.

“Young people need support because these are hard decisions to make and they are stressful and now we are in a pandemic.”

As the nation strives for a new normal amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic, young people’s futures are less linear than ever before and JET wants to help more young people like Bethany to find paths to success that enable them to choose a brighter future.

“The right level of support at the right time is all that is needed to turn young people’s lives around and for them to understand why learning is important to getting the right job and career for them,” said Emma.

“For some young people this could be an inspirational talk, which encourages them to think about a career in an area they had never thought of before, for others, like Bethany (who are sign posted to our Blue Skies programme), this might mean a three year support package that changes their outlook.”

Click or tap here to support JET’s Emergency Appeal.

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