Young people want access to employers to improve career prospects

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Young people want to bridge the gap between education and work, and improve their chances of finding employment by obtaining greater access to employers, according to research published today by City & Guilds.

City & Guilds says the research, “Ways into Work: views of children and young people on education and employment”, is the first comprehensive analysis of young people’s views on education and employment since the start of the current economic crisis.

It found that 88% of 16- to 18-year-olds said that a visit to an employer was “extremely useful” to their career prospects, but only 26% of respondents had been given that opportunity.

The research found that, despite work experience placements being a common form of young people’s access to employers, irrelevant and poor-quality placements are failing to prepare young people for meaningful employment. Only 33% of 14- to 18-year-olds considered work experience to be necessary when it comes to getting their dream job.

The report also found that almost half (49%) of 16- to 18-year-olds said they would one day like to run their own business, and that respondents across all age groups showed an appreciation of the “hard work” that they feel is needed to get their ideal job.

However, pessimism increased among respondents approaching employment age, with 23% of 16- to 18-year-olds worried about not being able to find a job when they leave school or college, and 63% citing finances as a concern.

With 22% of 16- to 18-year-olds currently unemployed, City & Guilds has called for the creation of an all-party parliamentary group to tackle the root causes of youth unemployment.

Chris Jones, CEO and director general of City & Guilds, said: “Our research has gone some way towards identifying the gaps between education and employment; now we have to plan how we are going to close those gaps and stop our young people from slipping through the system.

“We are calling for an all-party parliamentary group to bring together key stakeholders across education, business and the Government to tackle this problem – working together to get young people working. We believe more needs to be done to ensure young people get the advice and experience they deserve and we believe we are ideally placed to help realise this goal.”

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