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Career guidance failing young people, says CBI

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Almost all (93%) young people feel they are not getting adequate careers guidance, a survey by CBI and LifeSkills has found.

Of the 2,000 14-25-year-olds surveyed, 65% said they received guidance for university choices, 62% for A-Level choices and only 26% received any information on apprenticeships. Even fewer (17%) received information about vocational qualifications.

Katja Hall, director of policy at the CBI, said the quality of careers advice in schools is in “severe crisis”.

“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,” she said.

Gender split

The research also found careers advice is split along gender lines, with male and female students often receiving different information.

More than a quarter (30%) of young men received advice on starting an apprenticeship, in comparison with 23% of women. Just under two-thirds (65%) of young women received guidance on A-Level choices and 69% for university, compared with 58% and 60% of men.

“The tendency to pigeonhole girls into academic routes and boys into vocational routes is unacceptable,” said Hall.

What young people want

The survey found 20% of young people wanted more information about the different education pathways available – 16% wanted more talks from employers, 14% wanted more information about work experience and internships, and 13% wanted more information about the value and relevance of qualifications.

Hall said: “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, the Government should press ahead with the delivery of a high quality, rigorous vocational alternative to A-levels.

“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.”

LifeSkills is a programme created by Barclays to help more young people into work. More than one million young people are currently unemployed in the UK.