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CBI calls for Government to address careers advice mismatch

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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for the government to do more to provide young people with high-quality careers advice, after research revealed 70% of children turn to parents for help.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) survey of 2,000 11 to 16-year-olds also found 57% asked teachers for advice.

But AoC president Michele Sutton warned that parents and teachers were not always the best source of up-to-date job information.

“Many of the top jobs available in 2014, such as those in the emerging sectors like energy renewables, IT and the computer games industry, didn’t even exist a decade ago,” she 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 blind-folded.”

The research found the majority of respondents wanted to work as doctors, teachers or in the uniformed services. Only 14% said they were interested in taking up an apprenticeship.

Among children aged 14 to 16 in the survey, 43% said they would prefer to have a professional job compared to 32% who wanted a vocational career.

CBI director for employment and skills Neil Carberry said the Government should do more to ensure children understood their options.

“Time and again we find too many young people not getting the support they need to make informed choices on their future career,” he said.

“We need a new approach that supports schools and colleges to explain the routes open to young people, whether that’s A-levels and university or an apprenticeship.

“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.”  

In related news, trade union PCS yesterday warned that Government plans to cut staff at England's Skills Funding Agency by almost a third would undermine its ability to deliver apprenticeships.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "With youth unemployment remaining high it makes no sense to take an axe to the staff who provide vital help and support for skills and apprenticeships.

"Cuts on this scale would not only be a tragedy for the individuals who lose their jobs, but also for school leavers, students, apprentices and businesses."

The Skills Funding Agency runs the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Careers Service.