Scotland's young people are in a pessimistic mood.

According to research published by the charity Action for Children Scotland, two thirds of people aged between 15 and 26 years old are nervous about their employment prospects, with many of them using words such as unemployable and worthless to describe themselves. The research also shows that one in five feel they can never have the career they would like, with many believing that they simply do not have the right skills or experience to get them the job they want.

It is sad, but not surprising, to see a generation of young people in such a dejected frame of mind. The youth unemployment rate may have been heading in the right direction in Scotland in recent months, but when young people scan the horizon, what do they see? More austerity? A debt-laden education? A job on low pay or a zero-hours contract? Or a struggle to find a home of their own? The baby boomers never had it so good, but their grandchildren have never had it so bad.

In releasing their new research, Action for Children Scotland have at least accurately identified the solution: good support, advice and training to get young people on to the job ladder. However, the picture on education and training in Scotland is patchy to say the least. The college sector, for example, is still in a state of flux with staffing levels and student numbers falling and many of the short-term courses that can help ease young people into education being scrapped.

The cost of further and higher education is also a continuing concern even in a country where students do not have to pay tuition fees. Not only has the Scottish Government been cutting grants for the poorest students, overall student debt has been increasing relentlessly - what student now ends their time at college or university free of debt?

All of this will contribute to young people's pessimism about their prospects, but at least there are some signs of hope. Action for Children Scotland itself, supported by Barclays, is launching a nationwide programme of workshops and advice services that aims to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to get into education or training. The Scottish Government also has plans for thousands of new apprenticeships and a strategy to forge closer links between schools, colleges and employers, the aim being that all secondary schools will be in active partnerships with employers by 2018/19.

However, as all the parties scrabble around for votes in these last few weeks before the general election, there is still a lack of focus on the problems young people face. The British economy is slowly starting to grow again, but there has been very little from the parties on how young people, who find it most difficult to find a job, can benefit from that success. The Tories in particular have been unembarrassed about their relentless focus on older people (perhaps because they know that older people are most likely to vote). Where are the policies for younger people? Where are the ideas to turn their pessimism into positivity?