Amplifying the voices of young people through our research - Speakers for Schools

Amplifying the voices of young people through our research

Making Up for Lost Time: Introducing the Latest Research Report by Speakers for Schools


Download the Report (PDF)

Download the Report (PDF)

The start of a new academic year has traditionally signalled an exciting time of transition as many young people head to new destinations to continue their academic studies or enter the world of work for the first time. All young people deserve to approach their futures with confidence. However, there can be no doubt that the pandemic has cast a shadow over the hopes and aspirations of many young people – disrupting their education, weighing heavily on their wellbeing, and greatly reducing the number of opportunities available to them.

Young people have shown great resilience throughout a very challenging time, but they have not emerged unscathed or unaffected.

Learning loss over the course of the last 18 months is one obvious area where young people have missed out. But the pandemic has done more than simply compromise the education of a generation. It has widened divides between the most and least privileged and created a raft of new issues that young people cannot address alone. So, how do we begin to make in-roads into bridging the resulting gaps and rebuild young people’s confidence both in themselves and in their future?

The concept of how best to support young people in making up for lost time following the pandemic is a difficult one. Particularly if no-one is listening to what young people themselves have to say on the matter.

Giving young people a voice 

One of the first steps to recovery must be to ensure that we fully understand the problem. And since young people are the ones that have been affected, it stands to reason that listening to their experiences can help us understand the problem more fully and arrive at a more appropriate solution. 

In May and June 2021, Speakers for Schools decided to undertake quantitative and qualitative research to better understand the issues facing the young people in our communities and give them the opportunity to tell us what they think will help them make up for lost time. 

Our research took the form of three separate YouGov polls – one with 2,113 young people aged 11-19 from throughout the UK, one with 100 business leaders and one with 100 MPs – as well as in-depth interviews with 13 young people aged 14-19 from throughout the UK who had all successfully accessed work experience with Speakers for Schools during the last academic year.  

The combined results of these surveys and interviews revealed some significant gaps in perceptions among the different groups, but also highlighted some surprising areas of consensus, which could be built on going forwards. 

Read the findings of our research for yourself 

We have published our findings in a research report – Making Up for Lost Time – which includes key insights into the views of young people, politicians and employers, together with a comprehensive set of recommendations for how the government and business leaders can contribute towards helping young people to make up for lost time.  

At Speakers for Schools, we are committed to playing our part. Our research has given us a clear mandate and we urge the government and business leaders to join us in working together to give young people the support that they need and deserve.  

Working together, we can make work experience more accessible to young people throughout the UK to help fill gaps in their careers education and build their skills and confidence both in themselves and in their futures. 

Working together, we can offer constructive support to help millions of young people make up for lost time.

The full report is available to download here.

To find out more about the research, please contact our Education & Policy Director.