So long as it is true that vocational or technical (whatever we’re calling them at the moment) study routes offer the same opportunities for employment and career progression as academic routes then ministers are right to insist that schools provide advice and guidance which promotes these options equally alongside each other.There is certainly a great deal of confusion out there still about whether young people ‘need’ to go to university and gain a degree in order to access particular careers – sometimes, this is correct, for example there is little point in telling a young person that if they want to be a surgeon then there are a variety of training pathways available to them – there aren’t. However, many highly successful careers have been forged through vocational training and apprenticeships and young people should know about this.This really is only part of the problem with the information that young people (and indeed their parents) are receiving. Does it really matter how you get there for example, as long as you end up with a decent job? And this really is about knowing where the jobs are and what the jobs are. There are a lot of factors that are important to the decisions that young people make about the careers that they pursue and the training and education choices that they make.For example, some young people want to move away from home, whilst others will want to work in the region that they live now. This is significant to the choices they make and the advice that they receive. There’s not much point in a young person setting off on a path towards a career which they can only realistically pursue and be successful at (perhaps because the industry is focused in a region far from home) if they move away from home if they have no desire to move away.Equally, regardless of regional differences in demand, young people need to be aware if they are set of a career which realistically is in decline and they need to know what to study in order to get a job before they invest their time in education (and money if they choose to go to university).
Does it matter how you get there as long as you end up with a decent job?
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