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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
British youth fear for post-recession job prospects
Article Type: Research news From: Education + Training, Volume 52, Issue 4
Young Britons are worried that the recession will rob them of employment prospects for years to come according to the latest Youth Commission report into young people’s employability. The report, established by independent education foundation Edge’s Learner Forum and supported by the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee, reveals the concerns young people have over finding a job. Two thirds (64 per cent) of young people believe that the recession will have a long-term effect on their employability. And with youth unemployment hitting record highs last year and nearly a million young people still out of work 58 per cent believe that radical changes need to be made to the education system to improve their employability.
The research, carried out in conjunction with teen community, Habbo Hotel, shows remarkable agreement about the changes that need to be introduced to the current education system to improve their employability with employment skills, careers advice and work experience identified as key. The impact of a positive work experience is understood by the nation’s youth with nearly half of young people (48 per cent) saying they do not feel that they have had enough work experience to inform their career choice.
But it is not just what you know, worryingly it seems who you know still has a role to play. Two thirds of young people polled (65 per cent) believe that their background will have a major impact on their career opportunities.
Rose Dowling, Director of the Edge Learner Forum who conducted the research, commented:
We are at a critical stage where, if the employment situation for young people continues, it will be a danger to them and to society. We can’t let this happen and need to make sure that this and future generations are prepared for employment and have the many paths to success they deserve. Practical and vocational learning in schools is paramount to this as is gaining real work experience – which is widely recognised by the young people who took part in this report … We don’t have all the answers though and we need more young people to have their say on education. Being still in or having just left school, they are well placed to inform ministers on the changes that need to be made to ensure everyone leaves the system possessing skills that make them an attractive proposition to potential employers.
The report reveals a discord between school children who are more likely to think school has prepared them to get a job and those who are slightly older and have more experience of trying to find employment. While the majority (85 per cent) of under 17 year olds have faith that their education has helped prepare them for the world of work, this number decreases dramatically to 53 per cent of young people over 17.
The main recommendations of the report are:
Make sure careers advice works for everyone, especially those who are unsure about the future.
Deliver better work experience and provide everyone with many more opportunities to take it.
Change young people’s perception that university is the only route to success. We need to champion vocational and applied routes so young people are aware they can be just as successful through them.
Give much more prominence to employability earlier in education.
Bring young people and employers together on a regular basis so they know what to expect from each other.
Further information including a full copy of the Youth Commission can be found at: www.edge.co.uk