Teenagers face careers advice postcode lottery

Teenagers need better careers advice.
Teenagers need better careers advice.
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YOUNG PEOPLE are facing unemployment due to a postcode lottery in careers advice at school with teenagers in the region setting their sights too low, new research shows.

Yorkshire youngsters are aware of less than a fifth of the wide range of jobs available to them after they leave education and are low in confidence about job prospects, according to the study by City and Guilds published ahead of this week’s GCSE results. In Leeds the figure is as high as one job in seven.

Teenagers are also failing to consider a large number of high‐skilled and well‐paid jobs in areas like IT, advertising and PR and finance but over‐selecting a handful of jobs such as medicine and teaching.

Skills development leader City and Guilds says the lack of knowledge is linked to a disparity across the UK in careers advice available to teenagers in the years before they prepare to enter the world of work.

Now it is demanding the Government levels the playing field for millions of school children by providing a national careers guidance service accessible to every child.

Kirstie Donnelly, managing director City and Guilds, said: “Our research highlights that young people in Yorkshire and the Humber are not aware of the range of career paths open to them and as a result are setting their sights low when it comes to their career aspirations despite good jobs growth forecast in this ‘Northern Powerhouse’ region.

“They deserve to be made aware of the breadth of career opportunities in their locality both for their own sakes and to ensure the future success of the region’s many thriving businesses.”

City and Guilds worked on the research with national research agency YouGov and Emsi, who are experts in predicting future jobs in UK cities, to map youngsters’ career aspirations against the jobs set to be available in 2022.

The research found that large numbers of young people in the area were interested in working in medicine or becoming accountants and secondary teachers - twice as many 14-19 year olds were interested in these careers compared to the number of openings predicted by 2022. It is thought this is because they are making choices based upon their own narrow experiences rather than being given access to broader information about the jobs market.

Yorkshire teenagers also showed lower confidence than elsewhere, expecting to earn around £38,000 in 10 years’ time - just over £5,000 a year less than those from the South East.

This is despite the fact that a further 85,000 jobs will be created in the region by 2020.

And only just over half of young people in the region are confident of being in their job of choice by 2025.

Laura‐Jane Rawlings, CEO of Youth Employment UK, said: “The transition from education into employment is still one of the biggest challenges facing young people. Without a clear understanding of the local and national opportunities available and the skills and experience employers are looking for young people will continue to struggle to move into sustainable job roles. The world of work is hugely exciting and the new opportunities for apprenticeships make this even more so, but only if young people are made aware of what is available to them.”

Rob Slane, of Emsi, said there were many well paid occupations that virtually nobody selected in the research of 3,000 teenagers such as property, housing and estate managers and marketing.

“This mismatch between aspirations and reality is the basic cause of the skills gap. The solution is to give young people better information about the state of their local and regional labour market, including which positions are likely to be available in their area over the next few years,” he said.