Ill workers 'feared losing jobs'
Seven out of 10 young people with chronic health conditions felt at risk of unemployment during the recession, while most went to work when ill because they feared losing their job, according to a new report.
Negative social attitudes towards chronic conditions, in schools and amongst employers, were leaving many young people at risk of low earnings and exclusion from the labour market, said the Fit for Work coalition.
The group said unemployment was almost twice as high among young people with chronic conditions than that of their peers.
The report, written by The Work Foundation, makes a series of recommendations to schools, employers, policy makers and clinicians, aimed at helping young people with a chronic condition to find work.
Dame Carol Black, co-president of the Fit for Work Coalition, said: "This report takes a look at this challenge at a time when youth unemployment in the UK is at worryingly high levels.
"It captures very well the scale of the obstacles faced by young people with long-term, chronic or fluctuating conditions as they seek to make the transition from education and employment - and then to develop and thrive in the workplace."
Kate Summers, who co-wrote the report, said: "Youth unemployment can cause serious psychological scarring and our research shows that problems often begin for young people with a chronic condition before entering a first job. We know from our findings that stigma towards people with chronic conditions can also result in self-stigma.
"We are calling on the Department for Education to provide improved education to young people about chronic conditions in order to reduce stigma. Healthcare professionals need to be incentivised to consider work as an outcome of successful treatment and employers should play a greater role in shaping the skills of young people, as well as identifying and establishing workplace adjustments."