Poor advice stunting career aspirations


A survey of 14-19 year olds has found that they are dissatisfied with the quality of careers advice they get, which results in misleading assumptions on how to obtain the careers they want.

The survey commissioned by the AAT ahead of this year’s A Level and GCSE exam results found that 14-19 year olds are broadly optimistic about their prospects, with 84% believing they are ‘quite likely’ or ‘very likely’ to enter their chosen career.

However, almost half (43%) said that formal careers advice has not been very influential in them reaching this decision, or that they’ve received no careers guidance at all. As a result, a quarter (24%) of young people are taking their next career or education step purely because their parents told them to, and more than one in six (15%) are just doing the same as their friends – risking talented youngsters ‘drifting’ into a career they are not suited to.

Encouragingly, young people are considering a wide range of options, with over a third (37%) having considered Apprenticeships/Traineeships and 22% having looked at professional training. However the most popular path remains AS and A Levels, with two-thirds of young people having considered these as future options (65%)

A huge 84% of those surveyed said that they would like, or would have liked, more advice from their school or college on their future options.  While 70% of young people said they would like, or would have liked, guidance from teachers, 61% said that direct advice from those already in the industry they aspire to would be helpful, and 36% named trade bodies and employers as potential sources of help.

The study indicates that the lack of careers advice could be having a detrimental effect on young people’s choices, with 71% believing that you need a degree to enter the professional services industry – for example a job in accounting.

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