How open are Northern Ireland's 16-year-olds to the world?

How has the EU referendum impacted young people's ambitions to study or work abroad?

In 2015, 1,1565 16-year-olds were surveyed using ARK’s  annual Young Life and Times (YLT) survey which found they have a strong desire to work abroad and viewed learning an additional language as beneficial for their future.

In the year since then, a major referendum was held on whether or not the UK should leave the European Union with the majority of people who voted in favour of leaving the EU.

For the 2016 survey, the British Council wanted to find out how the EU referendum vote may impact on young people's intention to leave Northern Ireland in order to work or study outside the UK, and what implications this may have for their ambitions to learn a lanaguage.

1,009 young people were questioned.

Key findings in the survey included:

  • The vast majority of 16 year olds in Northern Ireland oppose Brexit  - with 72% of respondents if able to vote,  in favour of the UK remaining part of the EU
  • Over two-thirds of respondents felt they would be worse-off outside the EU – with only 14% thinking they would be better off.
  • Respondents who identified as British were much more likely to say they would probably or definitely be better outside the EU – but still fewer than one in three (29%) 
  • Ambitions to learn further languages was much stronger among those who would have voted to remain in the EU and who felt that they will be personally worse-off after the Brexit vote. 
  • Respondents from financially not well-off backgrounds were less likely to say they would be worse-off outside the EU (60%)
  • Ambitions to study, learn and work abroad were weaker among 2016 respondents than respondents from one year earlier
  • Same-sex attracted respondents (80%) were more likely to say than opposite-sex attracted respondents (67%)  that they thought they would personally be worse off outside the EU.

 

The full ARK report and findings can be downloaded below