Young people ‘need help with independence’


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Students in lecture

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Young people need more help than previous generations in being independent when they leave home, Education Secretary Damian Hinds says.

Students could “struggle with the pressures of moving away”, he said.

There have been worries about mental health and wellbeing problems among students when they go to university.

And Mr Hinds was launching a project teaching teenagers “life skills”, such as budgeting, sharing a house or coping with relationship problems.

Developed by Unite, a company that provides student accommodation, the workshops will be available free to schools from next term.

They will cover “independent living, managing money and dealing with conflict” and include questions such as:

  • “What is the price of a litre of milk?”
  • “How often will you wash your sheets once you move out of home?”
  • “What issues may occur living with a stranger?”

Part-time jobs

The education secretary said today’s young people in many ways appeared “more confident and curious” than in previous years.

But they could lack the resilience and experience they might once have gained from activities such as part-time jobs.

Since the 1990s, there has been a sharp decline in the number of pupils and students with part-time or “Saturday jobs”.

And these could provide “life lessons learned from having to suck it up”, Mr Hinds said.

“The more independent young people are before leaving home, the more resilient they are likely to be when away at university,” he said.

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Getty Images

Image caption

Damian Hinds says part-time jobs give young people life experience

Mr Hinds said people were now “much more conscious of mental health considerations” – and that the transition into university was an important part of this.

Moving away from home for the first time could be “daunting”, he said.

A “good education is more than about the academics” and schools should also be a “preparation for life”.

The education secretary also revealed the life lesson he had missed out as a teenager had been how to cook for himself.

Natalie Corriette, a teacher at St Bonaventure’s sixth form, in east London, said the workshops could help students who “feel anxious and unsure about what to expect when living away at university”.


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