09 December 2020

Report: Preventing a Lockdown Generation in Europe and Central Asia: Building resilient societies with young people in the era of COVID-19


On behalf of UNICEF and the European Training Foundation, it is with immense pleasure that we can now share with you the report “Preventing a Lockdown Generation in Europe and Central Asia: Building resilient societies with young people in the era of COVID-19”.

This report builds on wide consultations with more than 15,000 adolescents and young people from Europe and Central Asia covering, among others, their feelings about lockdown restrictions, access and participation in education, learning outcomes and the quality of teaching, as well as their views on mobility, entrepreneurship and participation. When it comes to the future, the report captures young people’s hopes and fears about deep changing societies and economies.

The younger generations have been among those most socially impacted by the pandemic, but also the most prepared to cope with the quick shift towards virtual environments that the pandemic triggered. For many young people, COVID-19 interrupted their schooling and left them jobless, and is still making it more difficult to integrate into the labour market. With school closures and uncertainty about their futures, many feel isolated, facing increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Yet, the younger generations are also the most prepared to face the hasty shifts towards an online environment where schools and jobs abruptly have moved from real to virtual spaces, and have shown a true readiness to adapt to these changes at a rapid pace. 

In the face of this situation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) joined forces to look at the challenges, opportunities and, most importantly, the views, sentiments and opinions of young people concerning their current and future prospects in the era of COVID-19. The purpose of these inquiries and the subsequent report based on them is not only to give voice to young people and strengthen dialogue with them, but also to ensure that their ideas inform the many overdue transformations in the ways the labour market and education systems function, and to identify ways that they can contribute towards adjustments in policies and service delivery.