The term ‘millennial’ or ‘generation Y’ applies to all young people who came of age in the first decade of this century, who grew up in a prosperous environment of newly emerging
technologies. A well trained, innovative generation that worked based on vocation and whose self esteem was high. What of the following generation? What is happening to those who are currently studying in secondary school? They are teenagers who are growing up in an era of change with the ever looming idea of crisis, indignation, unemployment, cut-backs and an endless stream of terms their older brothers had rarely heard.
As such, in the pursuit of understanding the situation of these young people in a more academic manner, in order to improve their support and tend to their needs, Adsis Foundation developed the study ‘The Future Begins Today’. In the report, in which almost 3,000 secondary school students, who were born between 1997 and 2000, from 24 schools all over Spain have participated, special attention is paid to the answers offered by the teenagers who are at risk of social exclusion— the main group Fundación Adsis focuses on.
The results of the study are both clear and conclusive:
18.4% of secondary school students have severe financial issues, something that will determine the prospects of their future education. They are teenagers who live in homes with unemployed parents (63%), who struggle to pay the rent or mortgage (70%) or unforeseen expenses (87%) who cannot eat meat or fish at least three times a week (75%.)
These young people have less access to activities and extracurricular support, which has a notable effect on their academic achievement. So much so that, in comparison, their academic performance is 24% lower than the rest of students; and 61% of them have failed 3 or more subjects. For Carlos Melgar, director general of Adsis Foundation, “these statistics show once again that the future of these young people’s education is in danger, it is going to be much more difficult for the group we work with as they do not have the same opportunities as the rest”.
‘The Future Begins Today’ also provides evidence of how these young people feel undervalued and under-supported by their environment compared to the rest of secondary school students, and of how their prospects for success are also lower: 37% believe that they will never achieve their ambitions and 30% are unsure if they will finish secondary school or believe that they won’t do so.
Employment and the colour of the future
The post-millennial youths analysed in the Adsis Foundation report show themselves to be very aware of the difficulties they face in securing a positive future (50% see the future as dark and uncertain) but they have full belief in themselves (78% believe that they will achieve their ambitions) and in the value of working hard to achieve their ambitions (87% are willing to commit to hard work in order to achieve their ambitions).
What about their working prospects? The study identifies three profiles amongst the secondary school students based on what they hope to achieve: vocational profile (37%), who want to work in an area they do not like and whose priority is to obtain stable work that covers their needs; family profile (34%), whose priority is to establish themselves financially and start a family, and lastly the ambitious profile (29%), who want to study and obtain a good job.
The voice of the young people
We want to highlight the voice of the real protagonists: the voice of the teenagers who have participated in the report by explaining their experiences. Here are some of their statements:
“Here the teachers are different, much more approachable. In other places they deign to teach the lesson and they go. Here, that is not the case: they explain everything you need, even if it’s beyond class hours. They always have time for you. They even let you bring ideas to add to the syllabus they have planned”, Basauri Youth Centre (Vizcaya)
“I see the future of society as somewhat bleak, because I don’t know how it will go. It all depends on work. If there is no work, everything will go wrong. If there is work we will have homes, money to eat with and help people”. Paradoja Youth Centre (Madrid)
Lastly, we want to show that young people need human support “committed vocationally” and technical support that will help them to build the bases of a future with equal opportunities integrated into society. Chelo, a young girl of 20, has had this support and thanks to her personal fight and the help of the educators at Fundación Adsis she has achieved all three of her dreams. *
* Translated by Jason Booker within the initative PerMondo. Sponsored by Mondo Agit offering translations from Spanish into English