There are 1.8 billion young people aged 10-24 in the world today; the largest youth generation in history. Though
fast-paced developments in technology mean the world has never been smaller or more accessible, it has also become
increasingly unstable, uncertain and often insecure.
As today’s young people set out to find their place in this world, and are bombarded by information, expectations
and uncertainty, we believe they are growing up with a mosaic of complexities and challenges unseen by previous
In this rapidly-changing environment, how do young people prepare themselves for their future? For their world? And
when it comes to education, is formal education alone still enough to ensure they have the skills they need to tackle it
Young people are also labelled by a range of stereotypes – ‘work-shy’, ‘unwilling’, ‘entitled’ and ‘narcissistic’ are just a
few of the negative labels attached to this demographic. Yet when such labels are cast aside, adults’ experience of most
young people shows them to be hard working, interested, engaged in society, and to have a genuine desire to make the
world a better place. They simply have a different way of approaching things.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award aims to help young people find their purpose, passion and place in the
world. It has never been more important to equip young people with skills and confidence for life and to help them to
find their potential. On an individual level this can make a transformational difference to a young person’s life; on a
collective basis, it has the power to bring significant change to wider society.
But is this just a matter of young people being ready for the world? Or do we also have to consider whether the world
itself is really ready to engage positively with young people and the opportunities that they present?
Over the past few months, we have been running a series of surveys to investigate this further.
To date, we have surveyed more than 12,000 people across 150+ countries and territories. We know that in trying to
capture something of the complexity and diversity of young people around the world, we are only scratching the surface.
Nevertheless we hope this document can go some way in starting to drive even more discussion on this topic.
Join the debate and help even more young people to ensure they are ready for their world – and that the world is ready