Dame Kelly Holmes Trust has today published new research highlighting the shortage of clear aspirations and ambitions from young people in the UK.

The UK charity, which empowers young people facing disadvantage to lead positive lives, conducted the survey in partnership with YouthSight across a sample of 1,012 young people aged between 16 and 24.

Only 49% of young people reported they currently have clear aspirations and ambitions for the future. This left over half either uncertain or without any idea about what they wanted to achieve and accomplish.

Yorkshire and Humberside had the lowest levels of aspirations (35%), whilst the South East had the highest (59%).

The research also found an alarming proportion of young people who failed to score high for levels of confidence, motivation, determination and resilience; with low scores on these attitudes strongly linked to low aspirations.

Only 22% reported being highly resilient to any challenges or setbacks, whilst just 7% felt they exhibited the highest level of determination.

The findings will be discussed on Wednesday 26 April as part of a policy roundtable – hosted by Dame Kelly Holmes Trust – at the Institute of Directors in London. The session will debate what can be done to address the shortage of ‘soft’ skills amongst young people in the UK and will be attended by leaders and political figures from across education, business and the youth sectors.

Ben Hilton, Director of Programmes at Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, said: “The findings are concerning and echo what we’re seeing from young people when they join on our programmes.

“Studies have shown that low aspirations are particularly linked to disadvantaged groups and often the result of low levels of confidence and resilience. This can be caused by a wide range of factors and circumstances outside the control of a young person.

“This can lead to poor educational attainment, employability potential and opportunities for social mobility.

“It’s essential that support is available to develop the attitudes and soft skills young people need to be progress in life and realise their full potential.”