This study set out to explore what had become of young people living in the poorest neighbourhoods of the poorest town in Britain, several years after we first contacted them. As they moved into young adulthood, had their longer-term experiences of disadvantage changed or stayed the same? While individuals reported feeling considerable subjective change in their lives, because of key turning points and critical moments (especially in respect of family and housing, and among offenders and dependent drug users), their objective circumstances had remained constant and their experiences of poverty persisted. Despite continued commitment to finding and getting better work, most were still experiencing poor, low-waged, intermittent work at the bottom of the labour market. After obtaining poor school qualifications, further poor quality training and education had not improved their employment prospects. This lack of progression had ramifications in other aspects of their lives, resulting in social exclusion. Few had established ties into networks beyond their close personal associations. Their social networks had become smaller in scope, more focused on immediate family and friends and even more embedded in their immediate neighbourhoods. This further restricted wider support and longer-term education, training and employment opportunities.
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