A staggering 93% of young people say they are not getting the vital careers advice they need to find a job or make life-changing decisions about their future, research has revealed.
Only a quarter of 14 to 25-year-olds had received information on apprenticeships, while a mere 17% were told what vocational qualifications might be available to them. In contrast, 62% were given information on A-levels and even more (65%) on going to university.
Professionals slammed the research, by Barclays' LifeSkills, saying it was a "damning indictment".
Katja Hall, chief policy director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: "The quality of careers advice in England’s schools remains in severe crisis. For 93 out of 100 young people to not feel in possession of the facts they need to make informed choices about their future is a damning indictment.
“These are some of the biggest decisions young people will ever have to take and they deserve reliable, relevant, inspirational and high-quality careers advice.
“It’s worrying when young people now have tough decisions to make in light of university fees and the growing range of high-quality vocational routes.”
The survey, which questioned 2000 young people, also revealed a split along gender lines with differences in the careers advice young men and women receive:
- 30% of young men receive advice on starting an apprenticeship (only 23% of young women)
- 65% of women receive guidance on A-Level choices and 69% on going to university, compared with 58% and 60% of men respectively
Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills, Barclays said: “LifeSkills was set up to remove the barriers young people face in moving from school to work. The results of this research underline the challenge that still remains to ensure young people have access to the necessary skills and experience to help them make informed career choices.”
There was a wide range of views on what guidance young people wanted. While less than 10% said they needed more support on making subject choices for GCSEs and A-levels, there was a clear need for advice to help young people when they leave school:
- 20% wanted more information about the different education pathways available (e.g. university, apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, employment)
- 16% wanted more talks from employers
- 14% wanted more information about work experience and internships and
- 13% wanted more advice about the value and relevance of qualifications.
Hall added: “The tendency to pigeon-hole girls into academic routes and boys into more vocational routes is unacceptable.
“The survey results clearly show that young people want information about the full range of options open to them – both academic and vocational.
“As part of this, Government should press ahead with the delivery of a high quality, rigorous vocational alternative to A-levels, using the prestigious A-level brand.