School teachers and parents struggling to give careers advice

Published on Friday, 09 November 2012 12:13
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

School teachers and parents are struggling to give the right advice to prepare young people for the world of work.

Research infographic

That's according to new, independent research released today by the Association of Colleges to mark Colleges Week 2012, which runs from 11-18 November 2012. The research finds:

  • 44% of school teachers admit to giving a pupil bad or uninformed advice in the past
  • 82% of school teachers don't feel they have the appropriate knowledge to advise pupils on careers, and 82% are calling for better guidance on advising pupils about their options post-16
  • 57% of school teachers feel obligated to encourage pupils to stay on at their school post 16 -  26% said this was due to pressure from management, whilst 16% feared losing their job if students were to leave
  • One fifth of parents (20%) feel out of their depth advising their children about careers, and 32% say they only feel comfortable talking about jobs with which they are familiar
  • Some parents readily admit their offspring are ill-prepared for work, with more than one in 10 (11%) confessing they wouldn't even employ their own child.

Joy Mercer, Association of Colleges Director of Policy, said: "Overall parents and school teachers exert more influence on a young person's education choices than a school careers advisor. This study shows that teachers, in particular, recognise they are struggling with this challenge. Careers advice is a professional discipline that requires training and development and we know that many school budgets cannot stretch far enough to fund this resource.

"In an increasingly difficult jobs market, the results of this study are worrying.  It is vital young people receive suitable guidance so they can make informed decisions about their future.  That includes getting impartial advice on their post 16 education options, and the routes they can take into employment , including Apprenticeships."

The research also revealed a mismatch in what parents and school teachers believe employers want from young recruits.  Both parents and teachers ranked work and life experience low on a list of attributes they believe most important to employers recruiting from education.  However, according to data from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, this attribute actually tops the list of qualities employers feel is most lacking in young recruits.

Valerie Todd, Director of Talent and Resources at Crossrail and Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said: "Among most UK employers, particularly smaller ones, an employee's experience is valued above all other criteria when it comes to recruiting. However, there are declining numbers of young people who get experience of work while in education. Sectors which have traditionally employed young people are in decline, resulting in fewer opportunities for them to gain experience.

"This means that businesses which want a highly skilled workforce for the future must take a conscious decision to help young people make the move from education into work.  Most companies can do at least one thing in their community to support this transition – offering Apprenticeships, hosting some form of work experience or visiting schools to give talks."

Joy Mercer continues: "It is clear that teachers and parents want more involvement from employers in advising young people about their options. That's why, as part of Colleges Week, we are also calling on colleges, schools and employers to sign up for the Inspiring the Future service.  The service aims to inspire young people by getting volunteers from all sectors and professions to go into their local state secondary schools and colleges and talk about their jobs, careers and the education routes they took."

In addition for Colleges Week 2012, a brand new Facebook application has launched today for young people. Quizl is aimed at 14-18 year olds and aims to get them thinking about their future. The app has been developed in conjunction with careers advice experts from Babcock Lifeskills and is intended to be a first step for young people to help them understand the different choices and options available to them.

Other research findings include:

  • 93% of school teachers and 94% of parents want pupils /their child to have more access to employers and businesses
  • Reasons parents would not employ their child included: their child not being work-ready (14%); their child not being able to get work done in time (8%); their child lacking motivation (8%) and their child being lazy (8%)
  • More than a third of parents (38%) believe it is the responsibility of the school to prepare their child for the working world.  Something that nearly a quarter (23%) don't feel is currently happening
  • 34% of parents would like their workplace to offer work experience to their child
  • 72% of parents think education should be more focused on preparing young people for employment
  • Nearly one fifth (19%) of parents say they give their child the same jobs and careers advice they received from their parents

Colleges Week 2012 is supported by The Skills Show, the UK's biggest careers and skills event.  Held at the NEC Birmingham from 15-17 November, The Skills Show will play host to a range of skills competitions, awards and activities.

Source: ©AoC

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