Association of Colleges: Poor careers advice is stifling children's job hopes
Teachers and parents are “struggling” to keep up-to-date with the latest employment trends and may be stifling children’s career aspirations as a result, it is claimed.
 
The Association of Colleges (AoC) said that young people could be missing out on careers opportunities because they are not getting the best possible advice from those they consult.
 
New research by the AoC and The Skills Show, published today, shows that 70 per cent of young people turn to parents and 57 per cent to teachers for careers guidance, but the advice they are given is often out of date.
 
The survey of 2,000 11-16-year-olds finds a majority want to become doctors, teachers or work in the uniformed services when they grow up, traditional choices that the AoC says may be a reflection of who they ask.
 
But nearly half of 14-16-year-olds said that they did not feel well-informed about the jobs market.
Michele Sutton, AoC President, said: “Our research suggests parents and teachers are struggling to keep up-to-date with current and future work trends and may be unwittingly stifling young people’s aspirations and hampering their educational choices through a lack of contemporary information.
 
“If young people are predominately relying on parents and teachers with limited experience of the rapidly changing world of work and careers, then they are making their educational choices blindfolded.”
 
The survey also finds that some 72 per cent of young people believe they know what they want to do when they grow up and feel positive about their prospects.
 
However, this positivity diminishes as they get older and the confidence they can do any job they want also decreases.
 
Ross Maloney, chief executive of The Skills Show, said that the research proved the need for young people to know about and experience the widest possible range of career options.
 
“We believe that it is vital for young people to be inspired to explore new skills and discover opportunities with which to shape their futures, and use experiential careers models to help them find what they are good at and what they enjoy,” he added.
 
Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills for the CBI, said the findings showed that there was a need for a new approach to support schools and colleges.
 
“The government must press ahead with the delivery of high-quality vocational courses and widen access to apprenticeships to tackle the skills shortages we face in the economy,” he added. 
 
The research adds to the growing concerns over the quality of careers advice in England.
 
“Narrow and out of date” was Ofsted’s verdict in a report published in September, while in November Ms Sutton attacked the quality of careers advice in schools as “nothing less than appalling”.
 
Students themselves have also been critical. Recent research by the National Union of Students suggested that careers advisers were failing to promote apprenticeships to young people and last month, a poll by CBI and Barclays revealed that 93 per cent of young people felt that they were not being given the right information to make informed career choices.
 
The government has pledged to improve the National Careers Service, and skills minister Matthew Hancock has said that he wants more employers involved in providing high-quality careers advice to schools and colleges.