New report reveals how pandemic has shaped young people’s career aspirations
Many students in the UK have changed their career aspirations as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is according to new research from EngineeringUK, titled Young people and Covid-19: How the pandemic has affected careers experience and aspirations.
As FENews reports, over half (52%) of the 15 to 19-year-olds polled agreed or strongly agreed that going to university would become more difficult due to the pandemic. Just over four in ten (41%) said the same of becoming an apprentice.
Overall, 62% of 11 to 19-year-olds either agreed or strongly agreed that securing a job in future has become harder.
Young people’s attitudes have changed when it comes to what they believe is most important when considering a career. More than two in five (44%) said that ‘having a job you can be certain you can keep’ has become more important due to the pandemic, while 41% said the same of the ‘availability of jobs’.
Sadly, factors such as ‘liking what I do’ (33%) and ‘being able to progress in my career’ (26%) were less important to young people.
For many of the 1,100 11 to 19-year-olds surveyed, having a job that allowed them to make a contribution to society has become more important as a result of the pandemic. When thinking about job choices 36% said ‘having a positive impact on society’ was important, while 34% said the same for ‘helping people with the work they do’ and 33% for ‘ethics and social responsibility.’
Many young people in the report felt that their careers have been restrained in some way because of the pandemic. Three in ten believe the type of careers they could have has changed, while 22% say what they actually want to do for a job has changed.
The report also showed that more young people are now interested in a STEM career as a result of the pandemic.
Speaking of engineering in particular, EngineeringUK chief executive Dr Hilary Leevers said: “Young people know about the role that engineers have played in efforts to combat the pandemic – we need to translate this insight into career aspiration.”
Dr Leevers stressed that STEM outreach and practical experience must be targeted at the pupils and schools most in need, “including those who are underrepresented in the STEM and engineering workforce and those that are most affected by the pandemic.”
She concluded: “We need to give these young people the opportunities they deserve and, in turn, we need them to ensure the diversity of thought for a thriving future workforce.”