As today’s (Thursday) official figures show over one million young people remain out of employment, education or training, the CBI and LifeSkills programme, have released survey results which underline the yawning gap between the career guidance essential to the future of our young people and what they are actually receiving.
The survey of 2000 14-25 year olds, conducted using the LifeSkills Youth Barometer created by Barclays, revealed that 93% felt they were not provided with all the information they need to make informed choices on their future career. Around two-thirds of those surveyed had received guidance on more traditional routes, A Level choices (62%) and university (65%), but only a quarter (26%) had information on starting an apprenticeship and even fewer (17%) on what vocational qualifications might be available.
Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director, said, “The quality of careers advice in England’s schools remains in severe crisis. For 93 out of 100 young people to not feel in possession of the facts they need to make informed choices about their future is a damning indictment.
“These are some of the biggest decisions young people will ever have to take and they deserve reliable, relevant, inspirational and high-quality careers advice.
“It’s worrying when young people now have tough decisions to make in light of university fees and the growing range of high-quality vocational routes.”
Kirstie Mackey, head of LifeSkills, Barclays said, “LifeSkills was set up to remove the barriers young people face in moving from school to work. The results of this research underline the challenge that still remains to ensure young people have access to the necessary skills and experience to help them make informed career choices.”
The survey also revealed a split along gender lines with differences in the careers advice young men and women receive:
• 30% of young men receive advice on starting an apprenticeship (only 23% of young women)
• 65% of women receive guidance on A-Level choices and 69% on going to university, compared with 58% and 60% of men respectively.
Hall added, “The tendency to pigeon-hole girls into academic routes and boys into more vocational routes is unacceptable.
“The survey results clearly show that young people want information about the full range of options open to them – both academic and vocational.
“As part of this, Government should press ahead with the delivery of a high quality, rigorous vocational alternative to A-levels, using the prestigious A-level brand.
“Business has its part to play as the findings suggest a high level of interest from young people to engage with and spend time with employers to get ahead in their careers.”
A third of young people choose vocational routes in the UK compared to over two-thirds in Germany and Austria – countries with a higher skills base and much lower levels of youth unemployment.
There was a wide range of views on what guidance young people would like. While less than 10% said they needed more support on making subject choices for GCSEs and A Levels, there was a clear need for advice that will help young people when they leave school:
• 20% wanted more information about the different education pathways available (e.g. university, apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, employment)
• 16% wanted more talks from employers
• 14% wanted more information about work experience and internships and
• 13% wanted more advice about the value and relevance of qualifications.
The CBI warned earlier in the year that careers advice in our schools and colleges was on life support.