Stigma over chronic conditions harms youth employment

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Young people with chronic health conditions are more vulnerable to job loss, a new report by Fit for Work UK has cautioned.

The report by the public and private rehabilitation service alliance, shows that 24% of 16-24 year olds with a work-limiting disability are unemployed compared to 14% of those without.

Additionally, 29% had difficulty remaining employed, 27% thought their chronic condition inhibited access to training and development, while 61% said their condition stopped them from reaching their full potential at work.

In a foreword to the report, 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 develop and thrive in the workplace."

Kate Summers, co-report author, is calling on the Department of 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," she said.

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