Future trends: researching young people's wellbeing

Gary pollock input

Click here for the online folder with presentations, resources and research from Gary, Aine and Pete's input from Thursday 23rd March 2022.

Research and future trends

It’s important to research and be ready for future trends as they come. The results of anything we prepare and develop now, will feed into a future picture. We should think where and how the results will be used in the future.

Foresight/horizon planning can be used to anticipate different futures.

For the research on well-being (Shaping the Future of Child and Youth Well-being in Europe), science and society were used as the two main axes along which to forecast four different scenarios of the future. By ‘storifying’ the scenarios, it can help the possible futures feel more real.

Examples of the four scenarios can be found HERE.


For the research project that was presented, well-being can be defined as 'quality of life', divisible into three main areas:

  • Happiness
  • Ability to cope
  • Contentedness

The research project aims to measure patterns overtime, and to identify which aspects promote well-being, and which ones inhibit it.


Why do some young people cope better than others? What works to support their well-being?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition is:

“The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

But how to define it as a wider concept related to youth work in today’s reality? The research for this is still in its infancy, although there is significant funding to find out more, and many projects currently working on it.

It’s an important concept that is becoming more and more needed, in times of crisis. And mechanisms to support it need to be put in place, ready for any future crises.


When a crisis hits, it provides opportunity to take stock, reflect, evaluate and improve things. It’s very sad that we need another war in Europe (on top of the ones in other places), to have to re-think the way we do our work.

Governments often look for a way to save money at crisis moments. Youth work can be a vulnerable sector where money is cut.

We should be wary of allowing one crisis to push us towards another.

To be ready for the next crisis, we need to be prepared in advance, to have tools, and to increase resilience.