Transition to Adulthood

Generations Apart, Series 2 Episode 2 of 2

Generations Apart tracks two groups of people born at the forefront of their generations - the baby boomers born in 1946 and the children of the nineties born into the era of the world wide web.

Last year we met the generations for the first time, but this year Fi Glover is joined by Professor Rachel Thomson, a sociologist at Sussex University, to ask how the transition to adulthood has changed since the Baby Boomers were young.

The first programme in this series showed how hard it can be for young people to get a foot on the job ladder. But what effect is this having on the rest of their lives? Can they get the house, the independence and the family of their own, and feel like true adults? In this second programme, Fi Glover takes to the road to find out.

Employment is, for many, the first step. Nickael is a newly qualified teacher. With a salary and career prospects, she should be set up for life. But she's still living at home with her mum. Even with a stable income, the weight of university debts and the high cost of living means staying at home is her only option.

Baby boomer Tony is experiencing the same problem with his nineteen year old son, Darren. Darren can't afford to move out, so Tony's dream of retiring to Turkey is currently on hold. He thinks Darren and his younger brother need to work hard and save hard, but accepts that things aren't as easy as when he left school. Like Tony, David and Sandra grew up when people "knew where they were going" and are relieved not to be making the same, less certain, journey today.

Ffion, on the other hand, is embracing uncertainty at twenty-two. Last year she started work at a local school, but gave it up to pursue her dream of living abroad as a holiday rep in Kefalonia. While she'd like more security, she's enjoying making her own way in life, on a path that feels a bit different from everyone else.

Hayley is another one of our younger generation who's decided to go a different way, having two children before her twenty first birthday. She's faced a lot of prejudice about being a young, single mum but feels society should be more accepting of people who have their family first. Sixty six year old Cathy wishes she'd had the same freedom when she became pregnant. She was forced to marry and leave the job she loved. Hayley, however, is nearing the end of her Open University degree and thinking about a career.

So although reaching adulthood today can be a drawn-out process, new social freedoms are giving young people opportunities the baby boomers could only dream of. Meanwhile, the 1946 generation are having to reassess their own lives to cope with these turbulent and changing times.

Producer: Anna Lacey.

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43 minutes

Last on

Wed 23 Jan 2013 21:30

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