This report summarises the predicted societal trends and shifts that will likely shape the lives of children and young people in Scotland over the next decade, and will provide the context in which any future policy planning will be situated. The report is based on conclusions from a number of UK horizon scanning documents, supplemented by data on current trends and projections.
Key societal shifts are expected in demography, the labour market, economic inclusion, education, technology and social patterns in the next decade. These are likely to affect children and young people’s health and wellbeing in a variety of ways.
Scotland’s population is ageing and this is expected to stretch resources and increase pressure across services, particularly in health and social care. This is likely to have a knock on effect for children and young people’s services, which could in turn impact the health and wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland.
There is potential for an unstable labour market in the years to come, with fewer good quality, permanent and full time work opportunities for young people. Additional factors such as rising housing costs and employers’ requirements for a higher level of qualifications leading to a longer time spent in education are likely to lead to extended paths to financial security and independent household formation for a large proportion of young people.
Young people’s future working lives will increasingly be influenced by automation and robotic technology. Automation is likely to replace people in low skill, routine or dangerous work. At the same time, robot technology may lead to the creation of new higher skill jobs, although adapting the work force may take considerable time.
Furthermore, young people’s use of social media is more frequent and more diverse in nature than in previous generations. There is the potential for a range of negative impacts, such as cyber-bullying and/or sexualisation or young people.
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