Life, Disrupted: Young people, education and employment before and after COVID-19

Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice

Life, Disrupted: Young people, education and employment before and after COVID-19

Report authors: Lucas Walsh, Joanne Gleeson, Bertalan Magyar, Beatriz Gallo Cordoba

The past 18 months have revealed long-term labour market trends and magnified the impact they have on young people. What appeared to be new economic challenges were, in fact, pre-existing social issues magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download the report: Life, Disrupted: Young people, education and employment before and after COVID-19

Some of these challenges can be traced back to the reassembly and sometimes eradication of conventional occupational structures around the world on the back of post-Cold War globalisation. Automation and digitalisation of industrial production has accelerated this reformation. Job precarity, erosion of working rights, emerging ‘permaflexi’ arrangements and major shifts in career identity are some of the consequences. The disruptions caused by the pandemic have highlighted prolonged disruptions to the daily lives of many young people throughout the world.

This discussion paper explores the fault lines that run through the relationship between education and work, the impact of digital disruption on young people, and the problematic rhetoric of soft skills. Careers can no longer be coupled with the idea of a linear pathway to a traditional occupation. Lifelong learning is no longer a desirable activity but a necessity, with learning how to learn at its foundation.

Listen to Lucas Walsh discussing the report and its findings