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'Postcode lottery' for youngsters after leaving education

Published 24/08/2016

The problems facing young jobseekers have been revealed in a report
The problems facing young jobseekers have been revealed in a report

Young people are aware of less than a fifth of the wide range of jobs available to them after they leave education, research has suggested.

The lack of knowledge is linked to a disparity across the UK in careers advice available to teens in the years before they prepare to enter the world of work, a survey claimed.

The so-called "postcode lottery" could lead teens in certain areas to face unemployment, City and Guilds said, releasing the figures a day before schoolchildren across Britain receive their GCSE results.

Well-known career paths including medicine and computer programming were oversubscribed, in a jobs forecast for 2022 using the survey results, the organisation said.

Meanwhile occupations in property and marketing were chosen by only a small number of people even though they may be highly paid, leaving a skills gap, according to the economic modellers Emsi, who created the forecast.

Figures showed those surveyed were aware of less than 20% of 369 occupations.

In light of the research City and Guilds managing director Kirstie Donnelly has urged a new national approach to careers guidance, including employer drop-ins to schools and information about which jobs are needed most in which area.

Ms Donnelly said: "We are calling on Government to create a holistic new national careers advice model that provides young people across the UK with the information they need to match their talents, hopes and dreams with the reality of the jobs market.

"We can do this by giving everyone access to employers in schools, up to date labour market information so they know what skills are in demand from employers and finally destinations data detailing whether past students ended up in the career of their choice so that young people are able to make truly informed choices about their education."

The research suggested job preferences were influenced by the careers people had been exposed to in different regions of the UK, sometimes leading to certain occupations being oversubscribed.

In Liverpool, figures showed 20 would-be psychologists for every one job, six times more students in Birmingham wanting to be a computer programmer than there are vacancies, and similarly six times too many keen on a role in metal work production in the North East.

Salary expectations were higher in London, where teenagers were also more likely to have had the opportunity of work experience, the research suggested.

Rob Slane, head of marketing with Emsi said there is a "mismatch between aspirations and reality that is the basic cause of the skills gap".

He added: "The solution is to give young people better information about the state of their local and regional labour market, including which positions are likely to be available in their area over the next few years, salary details, and which occupations are most similar to their aspirations, but where there are more likely to be jobs available. Put this information into the hands of young people, and you will start to see the skills gap close."

:: More than 3,200 teenagers in the UK aged between 14 and 19 were questioned in November last year, City & Guilds said.

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