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Careers: What Do Kids Learn at School These Days?

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As a youth I remember being infuriated when hearing older people say "kids these days are...." Or "the youth of today...". Imagine my surprise recently when, at the ripe old age of 25, I found these words coming out of my own mouth. This was sparked off by a round of recruitment I had been involved in. Apparently many young people are struggling to find work and with applicants making mistakes on CV's, turning up in jeans, correcting the interviewer and having a general lax attitude towards the whole process it really is no surprise.

Back in My Day

My secondary school was no Eton, in fact it was one of the worst performing schools in the region. However, they still taught me how to write a C.V. (or still taught those that weren't too busy skiving or lounging on tables). Careers lessons were on the timetable and the teacher would practise being an interviewer and asking all sorts of questions that might come up in a real interview situation.

After leaving school I remember traipsing round from business to business handing out my C.V as online applications were still evolving. I knew that work wasn't going to fall in my lap and that I had to go and find it. After numerous days of doing this I managed to secure an interview. Enter my mum. "Don't go in there looking like hussy with loads of make up on" and "where are your black trousers, get them ironed". Since I was 13 my mum had told me that she was expecting me to pay 'board' when I left school and so I knew getting a job was super important and that she wouldn't support me all my life, a bit like the mother bird shoving the baby bird out of the nest in order to make it fly.

Have Things Changed?

What do they teach in schools these days? I'm asking a serious question, albeit one that makes me feel as though I'm 25 going 60. A recent report on the BBC told us that careers advice has been reduced in 83.5% of schools in England. This also comes at a time when a record number of 16-24 year olds are NEET (not in employment, education or training). This surely affects how equipped a young person will be to secure work but how far can schools really address the issue of attitude?

A little while ago the Centre for Social Justice carried out a survey of employers and found that 62% cited poor work attitude and ethic as the reason why they did not take an applicant further. It seems that this really is a common problem. I think this is an area in which parents can make a positive difference by displaying a positive and proactive attitude towards work themselves. Both teachers and parents need to work together in order to provide balanced help and advice to the young people in their care and provide the best launch pad they possibly can into the big wide world of work.

To finish, please don't get me wrong. I'm open to the possibility that it's not young people that have changed but rather it's me as I've become more informed about the things that really matter in life and in work, which is odd considering I already knew it all at 14!