25/08/2016 13:35 BST | Updated 24/08/2017 06:12 BST

Careers Guidance Needs An Overhaul - Now!

Today this year's GCSE results were unveiled.

It really doesn't surprise me that research from City & Guilds this week has shown that young people are not even aware of the breadth of careers they can pursue. City & Guilds say it's a postcode lottery, career guidance quality differs depending on where you live. Their report also highlights the lack of aspiration in some areas of the country, why is this?

I remember when I was in school and told my careers advisor when I was aged 16 that I wanted to run my own business. She looked at me blankly and said, 'Oh, I don't think you can do that. That's only for those people on Dragon's Den. How about becoming a teacher?'

Young people need to be aware of all the options this results day, not just the college and university route. Already statistics have shown that the value of higher education may be in question. So why do we keep pushing young people down this path? We need careers advisors who have actually had careers and teachers who have actually had professional experience to be in our classrooms.

On this year's A-Level results day, I jointly launched an open letter to Skills Minister Robert Halfon with my colleague and fellow entrepreneur Jordan Swain.

The former education secretary and GCSEs founder has stated that University degrees do not necessarily equate to better job prospects and recent research suggests only 30% of graduates in the UK feel they are getting value for money from their courses.

Young people need to be inspired to try out alternative career options and that status quo of school, college, university needs to be broken. Full letter below.

Dear Mr Halfon,

We think career pathways for young people need an overhaul. We are getting worried about the amount of pressure put on students to pass exams and succeed through the traditional educational system through University in order to get a job and prosper.

There are other alternatives such as vocational training, apprenticeships, entrepreneurship and social action.

Whilst the government is working in a programmatic way to strengthen such areas, young people still lack the social mobility and guidance to help them consider their careers carefully.

The former UK education secretary has stated that traditional degrees do not necessarily guarantee job success and I agree.

Both myself and my colleague Jordan Swain, a US ­based entrepreneur, are teaming up to design a movement which encourages young people to think in enterprising and creative ways about creating impact and indeed long­ term prosperity for themselves and their careers. The opportunity ahead of us transcends cultural barriers, beyond Britain or America. We are at a point in time where the exponential technologies available to us, such as the internet and information technology, will galvanize change unlike anything we've ever seen.

Cultivating entrepreneurial and creative thought­ leaders truly offers a paradigm shift in which the next generation can be empowered to mobility, economic development, and long­term wealth building, not only for themselves, but for their communities.

This issue is not unique to the UK, but I think we have a real opportunity in the wake of Brexit to start leading and equip the next generation with cutting edge careers which can withstand the difficult environment into which they will grow up in.

Will you join us in this quest for better careers education?


Adam Bradford, social entrepreneur and Queen's Young Leader

Jordan Anthony Swain, co-­founder, Parajin Media Corp