What did you want to do when you were nine?Posted: 9th of March 2015 by
Labour shadow education secretary, Tristam Hunt has said that he wants girls in particular to be given careers advice in primary school from the age of seven. This is to encourage ambition in young girls and to encourage them to girls to “broaden their horizons”.
He has also called for more employers to visit schools and engage with young people about careers options.
The unfortunate thing is that the focus on the importance of careers advice comes after the government moved the responsibility for this provision to schools, without providing any funding to support the implementation of this.
Responses to Mr Hunt’s statement have been varied, with some commending the idea that we begin speaking to young people at an earlier age about career options and others claiming that at primary age, children should be allowed to be children and not pushed to consider future career options.
Tristram Hooley, Professor of Career Education at the University of Derby, had this to say:
It is heartening to hear Tristram Hunt talking about the provision of career education and guidance in primary school. The evidence in this area is very clear. Young people begin to form their aspirations and ideas about possible careers at an early age. Furthermore the evidence also suggests that effective career education and guidance need to start at an early age rather than being left to the point at which young people are making decisions.”
Is the suggestion of careers advice at an earlier age too simple?
When and how do people decide what career they want to pursue? The truth is that careers advice in schools together with initial advice and guidance offered to young people that enables them to best select their educational options is vital not just for young people being placed on the right educational pathway for them, but also to the success of schools and colleges when it comes to retention, success and achievement.
This isn’t the end of the story however. Young people are influenced by all sorts of things – including their parents’ ambitions and expectations and the perceptions that both parents and young people develop through media portrayals. Read our article on whether negative stereotypes are holding young people back.
What’s the answer?
Well, the more you investigate, the more it appears that a team effort is needed – involving the media, employers, parents, training providers and teachers.
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