In 2016-2017 Demos worked with the British Council to produce Next Generation UK.

The report is organised according to three key research themes around which we have explored youth attitudes and aspirations: the UK’s place in the world, political and social engagement, and opportunities in education and work.

The research explores:

  • Young people’s opinions on engaging with the rest of the world, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, and their pride in being British
  • The attitudes of young adults to politics and democratic engagement, and the theme of how to increase political engagement among the young, as well as the use of social media by the young to access news
  • The immediate economic circumstances of young adults, as well as their attitudes and experiences in education and work.

Some of our key findings were:

  • Young people identified unaffordable housing and lack of jobs as the biggest challenges they face; while the NHS was singled out as the biggest national issues
  • Britain’s youth are split down the middle between those who feel they’ve been supported by the education system and adequately prepared for the world of work (49 per cent vs 46 per cent) and adulthood more broadly (44 per cent vs 50 per cent)
  • 49 per cent of young people perceive social mobility as not working in the UK.

The research comprised of:

  • A nationally representative survey
  • Focus groups with young adults in locations across the UK
  • Innovative analysis of young adults’ use of social media
  • A policy roundtable with key stakeholders focused on youth engagement
  • Two workshops were held with a Next Generation UK Advisory Board of 15 young adults who have steered the project for its duration and helped develop recommendations

The full report, including policy recommendations, can be downloaded here.


Next Generation launch: Question Time 

On Wednesday 13 September, Demos and the British Council convened a high level public discussion on the themes of the research and its political impact.  The event marked the culmination of a year-long research project undertaken by Demos on behalf of British Council, exploring attitudes and aspirations of young adults across the UK, and seeking to understand their priorities for change. In a time of rapid social, political and economic change, the theme of the event was youth engagement.

This event launch the Next Generation UK report in parliament, and brought together politicians, policy makers, the media and young people to engage with this research project, and discuss the future of our young people as active citizens, both locally engaged and globally connected.


James Cleverly MP
Lisa Nandy MP
Michael Sani, founder of Bite the Ballot
Priscilla Mensah, former Cambridge SU president

Chair: Marie le Conte, freelance journalist, formerly of BuzzFeed

This event followed a Question Time format, with audience members actively participating in questioning the speakers.

A video recording of the full event can be watched below. 


For further questions about this event, please contact [email protected]