Generations Apart

Episodes

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0101Baby Boomers20110808

Generations Apart tracks people from two wildly different generations.

This August, Fi Glover launches Generations Apart, a new landmark series for BBC Radio 4 which tracks the fortunes of people at two very different stages in their lives - the first Baby Boomers born in 1946, and the 'children of the nineties' born at the same time as the world wide web.

Over the next 3 years, Fi delves into the lives of individuals selected from each generation to explore how people are shaped by when they're born, looking at the similarities and differences between them.

In this opening programme, Fi Glover meets the baby boomers.

Born in 1946, and turning sixty five this year, they're leading their generation into older age.

The baby boomers have lived through some interesting times.

Born in post-war austerity Britain, they were weaned on the ration book, but their lives were destined for social change.

Raised in an era of opportunity and progress, they witnessed rapid social and technological change first hand and became the driving force behind it.

Teenagers in the swinging sixties, some campaigning throughout their lives, they've ridden the tide of boom and bust.

As the first baby boomers turn sixty five, they are set to buck the trend again.

Comprising over a quarter of the UK population, their spending habits and lifestyles have huge sway on the economy.

And the notion of retirement doesn't sit comfortably with all of them.

Fi follows their contrasting personal journeys, from Alice, the Grimsby Grandmother whose own life mirrors the changes in the community around her, to David and Sandra, the triathlon training couple striving to compete on the international stage and hopeful that reaching sixty five will make this easier to achieve.

Fi meets Carol, the airline worker who hopes her age won't stand in her way as she attempts to find a new job, and Tony who is reluctantly facing retirement to make way for the younger generation.

Along with thousands of others born at the same time, Carol's life has been tracked since her birth in the world's longest running survey, run by the Medical Research Council.

Generations Apart reflects on where these baby boomers have got to in their lives, and expresses their hopes, fears and expectations for the future.

That's Generations Apart, on Radio 4 at 9am on August 8th.

0102 LAST20110809

Fi Glover presents a new series for BBC Radio 4 - today focusing on 21-year-olds.

Fi Glover launches Generations Apart, a new series for BBC Radio 4 which tracks the fortunes of people at two very different stages in their lives - the first Baby Boomers born in 1946, the second the 'children of the nineties' born at the same time as the world wide web.

Over the next three years, Fi delves into the lives of individuals chosen from each generation to explore how people are shaped by when they're born, looking at similarities and differences between them.

In the first programme on Monday 8th August at 9am, Fi met people born in 1946.

The first 'baby boomers' are now turning 65 with many reflecting on where they've got to and what more they'd like to achieve.

Today she joins the 'children of the 90s' - born into a very different world.

At 21 they face significant challenges and Fi meets them as they tackle issues ranging from responsibility to romance.

The case studies include:

The Cambridge graduate with a world of opportunities at her feet but with difficult financial and career choices now her university days are over;

The prisoner released after a sentence for violence with his sights set on an apprenticeship scheme and a flat of his own;

The twenty-one-year-old Welsh twins who juggle their wish for greater independence with the security they gain from their close knit family;

The London singer who at 21 has surrounded himself with friends able to provide the support that his own mother couldn't.

This series gives listeners the opportunity to hear what happens as those taking part wrestle with important decisions and choices.

0201Finding Work20130116

Fi Glover reveals how job opportunities for the two generations have dramatically changed.

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 explore how sixty years of social change have affected the two generations' ability to secure work, and ask what impact this has on the transition to adulthood.

In this programme, Fi explores how job opportunities open to the younger generation have diminished since the 1960s, when the baby boomers entered work.

Adam is twenty two and has been out of work since leaving school at sixteen. With no qualifications and constant disappointment at the job centre, he's struggling to stay positive. Leaving school without qualifications in the 1960s, as Derek did, wasn't such a recipe for disaster. He walked into factory work and was on a management training scheme by the time he reached Adam's age.

The contrast in the job opportunities between the generations is equally stark for those seeking skilled work. As a baby boomer, there were plenty of opportunities on offer for David when he was young. He remembers how passing the 11+ opened the doors to a good education and a secure career. As an undergraduate, Abi doesn't feel so positive. She'd like to be a journalist, but she's aware that a degree is no longer enough. Today it's all about getting unpaid work experience, something that many young people can't afford to do.

It's not just the younger generation who are competing for the paucity of jobs. People are now working longer, many beyond retirement age. Baby boomer Carol was shocked at how difficult it was to find work after leaving her long term job at the Heathrow airport last year.

The struggle for financial independence is something that many women from Carol's generation are familiar with. Even though there were plenty of jobs when they were young, pregnancy often brought an end to a career. Back in the 1960's, Cathy vividly remembers how she had to put children ahead of any career aspirations she had when she became pregnant. It's not an unfamiliar story in the modern working world, but it's less common.

Nickael is pleased that she has the social freedom to fit any children she may one day have around her job. She's chosen teaching, one of the few options left that offer a secure career path.

But what impact is the scarcity of jobs among the younger generation having on the rest of their lives? And how is it affecting the older generation? In the next programme, Fi Glover goes on the road to find out.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

0202 LASTTransition To Adulthood20130123

Fi Glover discovers how the transition to adulthood has changed since the 1960s.

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.