From education to employment

Rising career confusion causing concerns for future workforce, with only 36% of students feeling very prepared for their future job

  • Only 36% of children feel very prepared for their future career
  • 36% of parents feel that schools are responsible for careers advice
  • Whereas 41% of teenagers say they get the best career advice from parents and 58% want more career advice from their school
  • Reed launch free Gateway to work solution to end career confusion

The next generation of workers are wildly unprepared for life after school, with only 36% of children feeling very prepared for their future careers.

Research of 2000 UK parents with children between the ages of 11 and 18, and 1000 students aged 11 to 18 from Reed, found that despite 36% of parents feeling the onus falls on the school to offer career advice, the majority of teenagers stated they get the best advice from their parents (41%), with 58% actually wanting more career advice from their school.

Gavin Beart, Divisional Managing Director of Reed Education, commented:

“There’s a real gap for our pupils when it comes to careers advice, especially with 31% of students not knowing what career they want to go into post-education.

“Children, in particular, teenagers, are faced with a mountain to climb to get into the workforce as they are left in the dark when it comes to careers advice. This has only gotten worse due to the pandemic, cost-of-living crisis and impending recession. During a time like this, effective careers education has never been more important.

“Education around careers is in danger of being treated as a commodity, rather than a purposeful service. As a commodity, it runs the risk of being underappreciated and underestimated to how much it can impact students’ lives post-education and the future of the workforce.”

With students feeling unprepared and badly informed of the variety of career routes available, the UK jobs market is also in danger of missing out on exceptional talent when it needs it the most. 

With parents wanting to lean on schools for advice and schools not necessarily having the time nor budget to offer guidance, Reed has released a free ‘Gateway to work’ solution to help level the playing field. It’s a free five-step work readiness eLearning programme designed to help students successfully enter the world of work.

There remains to be a strong expectation that the education system needs to be offering career support to their students – from both parents and students alike, but it is without a doubt that UK schools are facing a testing time. Research from The Sutton Trust found that a third (32%) of teachers in state schools said they don’t have enough funding to deliver good quality careers education, with more than half (51%) saying there wasn’t enough staff time to do so.

“We need to close this gap and ensure our future generation has all the know-how to get them ready for life after the classroom. By opening up ‘Gateway to work’ for free to schools, parents and students, we hope the eLearning course will give each student the opportunity to work through five key modules to build their skills, knowledge, and confidence, to help prepare them for their career”, adds Gavin.

Reed’s research highlights that there also seems to be a generational gap when it comes to  expectations, with children wanting to go into university post-education (57%) and only 47% of parents feeling the same; instead, students are also open to other options, including apprenticeships (22%), traineeships (9%) or going straight into work post-school (5%).

Gavin adds: “It’s imperative secondary school students are getting well-rounded advice – from the jobs market and the skills employers demand all the way to the various routes into work. A lot has changed since their parent’s generation. Schools  need to make sure that all post-education options are outlined for students and that they know which is best for them.”

To offer better guidance, Reed has also launched a free careers guide for secondary school students to inform them about potential future careers. 

The guide ‘What’s next? A guide to starting your career’ sets out the different routes available for school leavers including going into work, further or higher education, apprenticeships, traineeships and volunteering. It also advises young people on the salaries and career paths available in different sectors and some popular entry-level roles so they can make a more informed choice for their future.

Gavin Beart, Divisional Managing Director of Reed Education, said:

“With tightening budgets, teachers are fighting to find enough hours in the day to be able to offer students all the support they need. To tackle this, we work extremely closely with schools across the country, and it’s clear that pupils across the UK need careers guidance, but teachers are struggling with offering the resources.

“We want our school careers guide to be able to lighten some of the pressure, by helping students to find the career path that’s right for them. It is so vital the next generation is well-prepared post-education, as there are now many different routes into a career; while some may need to go into higher education to get the qualifications they need, others may benefit from learning on the job and going into an apprenticeship or traineeship.

“Offering this guidance in a fast-moving economy and jobs market is important – not only to ensure students are working toward their own personal goals, but also that schools are offering the best support they can.”

Reed’s careers guide delves into different roles within various sectors. The careers guide covers the following industries:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Accountancy and finance
  • Green and renewable energy
  • Business support and administration
  • Care
  • Health
  • Education
  • Further education
  • Hospitality and leisure
  • Human resources
  • Insurance and financial services
  • Legal
  • Marketing, creative and PR
  • Procurement and supply chain
  • Property and construction
  • Security-cleared professionals
  • Sales

Find out more about and access Reed’s Gateway to work programme here: Gateway to work | Reed

Download Reed’s free school careers guide for secondary students here: Careers advice for students & school leavers 2023

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