Systemic racism hobbles economic inclusion, with young people hiding their identities to avoid discrimination.

Apr 25, 2022

Today, the Traveller Movement launches Roads to Success, a research project identifying barriers to economic inclusion for young Romany Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller (GRT) young people. 


The report combines peer-led semi-structured interviews with young GRT people with analysis of survey responses from 85 youth sector organisations across the UK to identify gaps in youth provision and barriers to employment, education, and training opportunities. 

The research, funded by Youth Futures Foundation, reveals the extent to which systemic racism in the classroom, the youth sector, and the workplace is significantly hindering economic inclusion for young GRT people. 

Experiencing direct, interpersonal discrimination in places of ‘safety’ has a profound effect on young people and their mental health, and is a significant predictor of social isolation and economic exclusion. 

No less profound is the impact of indirect discrimination. Youth focused organisations are often inflexible in the way they engage with young GRT people; with provision and procedure developed without reference to the individual circumstances, immediate needs, or long-term goals of young people. 

Significant reform at the national level is required and many of the report’s recommendations are for the UK Government, but there are many immediate steps individual organisations can take to drive forward inclusion. 


Millie Cooper (Community Development Officer, Traveller Movement): “We have done the work now. We have found out the barriers that are preventing young Gypsies, Roma and Travellers from finding their feet or having the correct support throughout life. It is now your turn to make the change” 

Yvonne MacNamara (CEO, Traveller Movement): Both strands of analysis in this report starkly highlight that the youth sector, schools, and other delivery organisations do not know how to effectively engage with young GRT people, and are often ignorant of cultural norms and values across GRT communities. This research reinforces the urgent need for educational providers & youth organisations to work closely with GRT 

Chris Goulden, Director of Impact and Evidence Youth Futures Foundation: We fund and evaluate infrastructure organisations, like the Traveller Movement, to support young people furthest from the labour market to move into good jobs. This research lays bare the significant barriers young GRT people face in accessing the services that should help them to achieve their potential. We hope the findings of this research open the conversation about more effective support and start to generate the systemic change these young people need.”  

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