THE BLOG

Can't Leave the House? Can't Get a Job

14/01/2015 09:34 GMT | Updated 15/03/2015 09:59 GMT

Many people have days when they don't want to leave the house, but thankfully they are few and far between.

But for one in ten of Britain's youth, these feelings of anxiety are overwhelming and they often struggle to step out of their own front door. For those 16-25 year olds who don't have jobs, the number trapped in their own homes by feelings of anxiety rises to more than one in three and undoubtedly contributes to their struggles to find work.

As chief executive of The Prince's Trust I know that anxiety is having a detrimental effect on these young people because of the research that we have just carried out in our Youth Index. But it's not just statistics, I meet these young people every day. I hear their stories, I know how the statistics manifest themselves in their lives and destroy their confidence leaving them unable to even look people in the eye.

Looking for a job isn't just about getting the right qualifications. Anyone who's ever interviewed someone will know that a strong CV counts for nothing if the candidate can't even look you in the eye. Which is why I know how vitally important it is to help those young people who are struggling to cope with everyday life and give them the skills they need to avoid becoming socially isolated.

The list of things which can go wrong in a young person's life is a long and ugly one. From a troubled home life featuring violence or emotional abuse, to bullying, health problems or being the caregiver for family members; young people are often carrying more than just the burden of growing up. No wonder that just getting out of the house can feel like a challenge.

But though this list of issues facing young people is depressing and long, the list of solutions is pleasingly short: support. With the right support young people can change their situations, open that front door and walk out of it with the confidence to chase their dreams and make them a reality.

Through research like The Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index, we know about the problems facing young people, and we know how to help them overcome those problems. Our programmes help to build confidence and help young people back into work education or training, so if you know someone who is struggling, give them a gentle shove in my direction, they won't regret it.

Personally, I think one of the greatest joys in life is working together with others to do something you believe in. If we can help young people feel confident about themselves and about working with others, we can open up a world of job opportunities which would otherwise be closed to them.

I have a young man working for me who knows exactly how it feels to be in that situation, but with our help he has managed to get to a place where he can come to work every day and hold his head high. Nat Hawley writes powerfully about anxiety and how it can hold you back, but he told me that what he really wanted people to take from his story was hope. It's that turnaround in the lives of hundreds of young people, from hopelessness to hopefulness, that gets me up and out of my front door every day. Let's work together to make sure Britain's youth can build themselves brighter futures.

Wednesday sees the launch of The Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index which gauges the wellbeing of young people in the UK. Shockingly, it reveals that 35% of unemployed young people often feel too anxious to leave the house

Find out more at princes-trust.org.uk, or follow @PrincesTrust or the #YouthIndex hashtag