Connecting Career Aspirations with Opportunity for Young People


A major new report entitled ‘Disconnected: Career aspirations and jobs in the UK’ has revealed a significant disconnect between young people’s career aspirations and available jobs in the UK. The report is based on a survey of 7,000 teenagers and revealed that the career aspirations of young people in the UK don’t line up with the types of job that are actually available.

This disconnect between aspiration and opportunity raises the concern that far too many young people are ‘destined for disappointment’ when it comes to their future career. The report also indicated that young people’s job aspirations are being set as early as the age of seven and are not being engaged with or challenged throughout their teenage years.

Many of the young people surveyed reported that they only received very limited careers support from their schools and colleges. Further to this, the report also revealed that those who benefitted from both engaging career activities and multiple career influences throughout their secondary education had developed aspirations that were better connected to the current labour market.

These findings from the report draw an obvious conclusion – that effective careers support in schools reduces the disconnection between the career aspirations of young people and available jobs in today’s market. Labour Market Data is critical as it informs young people of future opportunities and allows organisations to tailor the curriculum accordingly. However, schools and colleges cannot solve this disconnect alone. Employers must also play an engaged role by bringing their insights into schools and ensuring opportunities they offer to their potential future workforce are both appealing and inspiring.

Our Pledge Partnership programme, which launched only last summer, enables businesses to work together with educators to provide every young person living, studying and/or working in Cheshire and Warrington with everything they need to succeed in the world of work. With the opportunity to develop employability-related skills and personal qualities whilst in education, the Pledge uses Labour Market Data – of which they have free access – to educate young people about their choices of employment, training or further education within their local area.

The Pledge supports hundreds of employers to work more closely with schools, colleges, charities, youth and community groups in their local area and reaches up to 12,000 young people. An example is the growing need for digital and STEM-related skills to help drive productivity across Cheshire and Warrington.

The report concluded that improving the careers activities on offer in secondary schools and colleges could reduce the disconnect by up to a fifth, which is around 100,000-125,000 school leavers each year. The Pledge supports this by helping individuals to make informed decisions about which subjects to study and possible career progression paths to follow, whilst also helping businesses to develop links to shape their future workforce, as well as offering development opportunities to their existing employees.

Find out more about the amazing work being achieved through the Pledge Partnership here or by following the programme on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.