More than 3,000 young people aged 14-24 responded to this year’s Youth Voice Census, which captures the life, study and work experiences of this demographic. Here’s our recap of the main findings:
Apprenticeship awareness on the rise
Promisingly, it seems the stigma surrounding apprenticeships (and their supposed inferiority against degrees) is shifting. Over eight in ten (83%) young people said they’ve had apprenticeships discussed with them; that’s a sizeable increase from the 58% who said so in the 2018 census.
More than a quarter (27%) of respondents said they’ve had apprenticeships discussed with them five times or more, compared to 51% who said the same of going to university – showing that there’s still a way to go.
More than seven in ten (73%) young people said their apprenticeship was ‘helpful’ or ‘very helpful’ in preparing them for their next steps.
The gender divide
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the census reveals a big gender divide when it comes to engagement levels about young people’s next steps.
Girls in school are more likely to have had university (55%) and sixth form (64%) discussed with them five times or more, though 79% have never been spoken to about traineeships. Boys, meanwhile, were more likely to be spoken to about things like traineeships, starting a business and getting a job on more than one occasion.
Girls in college are more likely to visit a university than boys (57% vs 37%), while boys are more likely to have visited an employer site and have attended careers fairs.
Though the results suggest that girls receive fewer interventions whilst in education, they generally feel happier about the services offered. Though, girls become less positive as they approach employment; they’re much less confident about finding working than their male counterparts.
Career confidence and wellbeing
The report reveals an increasing sense of employment uncertainty among young people. Only half said they are ‘quite confident’ or ‘very confident’ that they’ll move into meaningful work, while just over a third (31%) believe employers are ‘supportive’ or ‘very supportive’ of hiring young people.
What is clear, is that there continues to be a mismatch between young people and the quality opportunities available.
When asked what they think will be the biggest barriers to entering work, mental health issues came top of the list. This was followed by location/travel, not enough jobs, and lack of experience.
Laura-Jane Rawlings, chief executive of Youth Employment UK, had this to say of the report findings, as FE News reports: “It is reassuring to see the impact of some of the key policies to support young people through careers education and apprenticeships have taken a positive turn. However there are still too many young people who do not hear about all the options available to them and university remains the most promoted pathway.”
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