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GCSE Results Day: Schools need to do more to make young people employable say parents

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As GCSE results day looms, a survey of parents of 11-18 year olds commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the professional body for management and leadership, reveals that 82% of parents believe schools and employers need to work more closely to prepare their children for the workplace.

The survey also highlights that despite 78% of parents believing work experience provides the best way for young people to gain employability skills, only 32% of them agree that employers are actually doing enough to provide that work experience for young people.

Separate CMI research shows that 85% of employers want students to have work experience.(1)

Parents as the new career advisors

Broadly as many parents are confident about the careers advice that they give their children (56%), as that provided by their children’s schools (54%). Their understanding of work and study options are vital, as previous CMI research shows that 77% of young people say that parents are their number one source of advice when leaving school.(2)

Rob Wall, head of policy, CMI, says:

“Many parents now have confidence in the careers advice they give their children. Given this, it’s critical that parents are up-to-date with the full range of study and work options available to their children post-GCSE.

“It’s reassuring that parents increasingly value apprenticeships, with two thirds now preferring a degree apprenticeship at a blue-chip corporate over a traditional degree at Oxbridge for their child. It is concerning however that one in three parents feel that schools and colleges only promote apprenticeships to pupils who are considered less academic.

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“Employability is a key priority for parents. As the key influencer in young people’s decision-making, parents need to be making their children aware as early as possible about the range of options post-GCSE which will help them develop those skills we know are highly prized by employers, such as management, leadership and enterprise. It’s worrying that 42% of parents aren’t confident that their child knows about the less traditional routes available to a job or career.”

CMI’s research found that around half of parents (49%) think schools are still promoting traditional university routes over non-traditional routes, such as apprenticeships – up from 45% in 2017.

32% agree that their child‘s school only promotes apprenticeships to less academic children – a stark reminder that there’s still some way to go in changing the traditional perception of apprenticeships as a second class career route.

Apprenticeship Options

As well as work-only apprenticeship options for young people, management apprenticeships offer a complementary alternative to academic-only learning, with the advantage of an income, work experience and skills growth.

CMI partners with 125 universities in the UK to offer a wide variety of management apprenticeships, from Level 3 team leader progressing through to MBA-level. Companies offering Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeships include Barclays, Boots, Nestle, Unilever, BBC and United Utilities.

More than 10,000 workers are currently enrolled on CMI management apprenticeships in the UK.

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