Leap Graduates share their views on 2020
Leap’s Communications and Policy Manager, Alicia Edmund, has been listening to and interviewing Leap graduates to find out how they have been coping since the first lockdown. In October 2020, each young person was photographed either in their home borough or in a London location of significance to them and their future goals.
2020 has been a year of numbers. At the time of writing, Covid deaths in the UK stand at 49,238, with 1.5 million unemployed since June 2020 and around £41.4 billion spent by the government on the job retention scheme. 20/20 represents the goal of perfect vision, so it’s a tad ironic that this year has brought into sharp focus how unequal British society is across age, regions, race and class. As a society, we have grown used to news headlines sharing growing numbers of cases, high death tolls and rising unemployment, but I fear we have lost our ability to empathise with a single story; especially those aged between 13 – 25 during this time. How many times have you considered how young people must be feeling and adjusting to drastic changes to their education and their futures?
Sadly, I haven’t considered this question enough. I know for myself I have found this year deeply frustrating – holidays cancelled, moving out delayed and socialising with friends limited, but when I compare my situation to the stories of these seven young people and Gen Z more widely, I realise how privileged my circumstances are in comparison. I am in a job, with a secure income. My home is spacious enough to work in one room and in another relax and unwind while national lockdown measures are in place. For the younger generation, that is not always the case. The work of Lee Elliot Major (Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter) on Generation Covid: emerging work and education inequalities makes for grim reading in mapping the landscape that under-25s will need to navigate going forward, and echoes the stories shared by the seven young people in this series.
Through this project, Leap graduates share the challenges of family life, identifying conflict in the home as something that they have had to endure with little option of escape. There is collective agreement that financial uncertainty is a huge worry for young people, with many unsure how they will be able to pay accommodation, tuition fees or course costs when in low paid employment or on furlough.
We are losing our ability to empathise with the younger generation during this time. remember me is an opportunity to counter that trend. I invite creative sectors, community leaders, businesses and institutions to engage with these seven stories and consider how you and your organisation can give time and expertise to elevate the next generation.
How the project came to be?
I am an admirer of Alicia Canter’s work and am grateful for her editorial experience and journalism expertise in helping to bring these stories to life. Each image was taken in either the home borough of each young person or a London location of significance to that individual. So, who are the seven young people involved in this project and what are their stories?