How Can We Reignite Covid's “Lost Generation”?

The first wave of Covid-19 lockdowns hit the UK in March 2020, and had an immediate impact on a whole generation whose education, social life, and early career progression has been affected. How can what’s known as Covid’s “Lost Generation” reignite their education, passions, skills, and careers?

Those known as the ‘lost generation’ are a group of individuals within the education industry who have been disproportionately impacted by the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. These disruptions include the closure of schools, the transition to remote education, mental health challenges and economic uncertainties.  

How did the pandemic impact education? 

In March 2020 the UK, like the rest of the world, stopped. Schools, colleges, and Universities across the country closed along with everything else for what felt like the longest 2 weeks ever.  

The education industry quickly became remote-based, resulting in many schools and teachers not providing the standard of teaching that they would in usual circumstances. 

Many young people didn’t have the resources needed to learn remotely, with a survey by the National Union of Students in 2020 finding that over a quarter (27%) of university students were unable to access online learning in the first lockdown.  

As the world gradually reopened, educational institutions, especially colleges, acknowledged the anxiety among learners about returning to in-person classes post-COVID. Colleges stepped up to support their learners during the transition implementing processes of gradual returns and managing challenging behaviours to maintain calm learning environments. Despite these efforts, attendance rates remained lower than pre-pandemic levels. These challenges created the difficulties many learners and apprentices were facing as they navigated the uncertainties of returning to traditional learning settings.  

According to a report from City & Guilds there are over 800,000 young people in the UK classified as NEET (not in education, employment, or training), the staggering number serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by our learners during the pandemic. In response to this it’s time for a shift in the approach to education. Rather than merely focusing on retention, we must prioritise reintegration, providing these individuals with the vital opportunity for a second chance. 

Kelly Sikkema Wiytzu3pxsi Unsplash

Where are we now? 

In today's landscape, Further Education (FE) colleges play a crucial role in addressing the UK's skills gaps, reigniting the passion for learning among young individuals, and providing vital support, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. These institutions stand out for their comprehensive approach, serving as a one-stop destination for careers guidance, pastoral care, educational programs, and hands-on work experience.  

How do we continue to reignite Covid’s ‘Lost Generation’? 

  • Addressing learners' gaps in knowledge and their learning experience is crucial. This could involve providing extra tutoring, personalised learning plans and providing extra learning opportunities where they can create an understanding of these gaps. 
  • Prioritising mental health support for students, teachers, and families is essential for creating a supportive learning environment. We can continue to provide access to counselling services, promote mental health awareness, and foster a culture of well-being. 
  • Adopt flexible learning models that combine in-person instruction with online learning that can accommodate for diverse learning needs and preferences.  

Here at The AIM Group, we work to create a more dynamic hub for personal and professional development which is needed to reignite learners as they grapple with the uncertainties in the job markets and disruptions to education. By offering a diverse range of courses we are able to provide invaluable support that our learners may require. We are equipped to address the various needs of today’s learners.  

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