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'Overlooked and left behind'

House of Lords social mobility committee publishes report on improving the transition from school to work

Posted by Stephanie Broad | April 09, 2016 | People, policy, politics

A report by the House of Lords Committee on Social Mobility has suggested that young people who don’t go to university are “overlooked and left behind”, and that careers education is “being delivered in a way which means that too many young people simply drift into further studies or their first job, which often has no real prospect of progression." 

The report calls for young people to be able to choose before the age of 16 whether they want to pursue an academic or a vocational route beyond school, urging improvements to the transition from school to work. 

Mike Thompson, Director of Apprenticeships at Barclays and member of the Prime Minister’s Apprenticeship Delivery Board, says: “As the House of Lords report Overlooked and Left Behind reveals, 53% of young people do not follow ‘traditional’ academic routes into careers, so it’s increasingly important that they, as well as their parents, are made aware early on of the benefits that alternative routes, such as apprenticeships, can offer.  

“Despite being an excellent alternate route to acquiring the skills and knowledge needed in the workforce, recent research carried out by Barclays has highlighted that apprenticeships are being overlooked, seen instead as a back-up option with 61% of students admitting they went to university on ‘autopilot’ without really considering other options. What needs to be better communicated is that you no longer need to fund a degree at university to get a job; apprenticeships allow you to earn from day one whilst getting on-the-job training, jumpstarting your career without the debt.” 

Entrepreneurism education charity Young Enterprise recently published “Youth Unemployment report: A Generation in Crisis”, which revealed that 90% of 16-18 years olds believe employers expect too much from school leavers.  

Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise, said: “The Committee on Social Mobility’s findings once again highlight the concerning lack of preparation that traditional education provides young people with before entering the world of work; a lack of preparation also identified by students themselves. Indeed, recent Young Enterprise research found that 84% of young people believe their schools are not doing enough to help them attain the necessary skills and experience to enter and succeed in the job market.  

“Almost half of the 16-18 year-olds we surveyed recognised that an academic education alone wasn’t enough to secure a professional job, and three in five believed that not getting enough work experience would mean they’d struggle to find permanent work after leaving school. 

“We believe it is essential that schools, charities and businesses work together to ensure that every young person in the UK has the opportunity to develop the essential character skills and experience they need to enter the world of work – regardless of their academic prowess.” 

Read the report here.

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