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Companies reaching out to parents of school leavers

Employers are increasingly looking to influence parents of 16 to 18-years-old school leavers, research has found.

A report released by recruitment advertising agency AIA Worldwide shows that parents are the most influential people when young people are deciding what option to take when leaving school. Teachers are the second most influential and careers advisers are third.

The results of the survey were announced at an AIA conference, The School Leaver Psyche, which looked at attitudes of young people at school leaver age and what employers could do to better connect with them.

Speaking at the conference, Gemma Friggens, talent leader for Mondelez International, said: "We run focus groups with parents now. They can be prickly at the thought of us steering their children away from university, but we're hoping to win them round."

Martha Jennings, senior talent consultant as BSykB, says connecting with parents is also a big part of their early career strategy.

"When we hold career events in school we encourage young people to attend with a parent. It helps us to reassure the parents what the apprenticeships are about and what we can offer to their children," she said.

Alex Parkes, future talent strategist for AIA Worldwide, told HR magazine making sure parents understand what modern apprenticeships involve is crucial.

"It's important to educate parents who may have a perception of apprenticeship schemes from when they were young. Things have moved on a lot since then in terms of what young people can get out of these programmes. Some parents just don't understand the options," she said.

Employers may not always realise the influence parents have on their children's choices because it's not always obvious, according to Parkes.

"A lot of the influence is on a subconscious level. Throwaway comments that can have a very big effect are not easy to measure from a corporate point of view," she said.