65% of GCSE takers worry about what job they will do as adults

Research by the national education charity, Future First, has revealed 65% of British 15-year-olds worry about what job they will do as an adult

A YouGov online poll for Future First shows that even younger children are concerned about their working futures, with 46% of 11-year-olds answering ‘Yes’ when asked, ‘Do you ever worry about what job you will get when you are an adult?’; more than a quarter (26%) of seven-year-olds also answered ‘Yes.’

When asked if ‘people like you’ will be successful in life, the research showed children that become increasingly worried about their future success as they progress through the school system; fewer than half of 15-year-olds (47%) agreed with this statement. along with 71% of 11-year-olds and 74% of six-year-olds.

The polling also showed that 75% of 15-year-olds – the age many sit GCSEs – 77% of 11-year-olds and 69% of six-year-olds felt it would be helpful to meet former students who could talk about their jobs and career pathways after school to help broaden young people’s jobs horizons.

Using alumni

However, separate research carried out by Future First through Teacher Tapp which looked at how schools engage alumni, and the extent to which they did so, showed stark differences in alumni engagement between independent and state schools.

State school teachers are far less likely to harness the talents of alumni to motivate and inspire current students with 77% of independent secondary school teachers using alumni as relatable role models for current students compared with just 47% of state secondary school teachers and, while 67% of independent secondary school teachers used alumni to offer students access to careers and world of work opportunities, only 26% of state secondaries did so.

These differences were particularly marked when taking into account students’ socio-economic background. Only 28% of teachers based in schools with a high number of free school meals (FSM) students engaged alumni, compared with 49% of teachers in state schools with a lower number of FSM students. However, alumni engagement, even in schools with lower numbers of FSM students, still fell short of independent schools where 84% engaged alumni.

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81% of primary state school teachers do not engage their alumni compared with a third of independent schools; only two per cent use alumni to offer students access to world of work opportunities compared with 17% of independent primaries.

Future First has worked in more than a thousand state schools and colleges across Britain enabling them to harness the talents and experience of former students to support the current generation with future pathways and career choices and develop the skills needed to succeed in work.

The polling supports Future First’s alumni audit – which was circulated to their network of 240,000 volunteers – in which 72% of respondents said they would have liked to have met alumni whilst at school or college, and agreed it would have benefitted them.

“This would have been a good opportunity to ask questions regarding the course I was studying,” one alumnus said, “and also potential education and career pathways that could have been available to me.”

“The result of this survey reveals the extent of concerns young people have for their working future, and the lack of relatable role models available for students most in need,” Beth Goddard, director of programmes at Future First, commented. “There is enormous, untapped potential for state schools to harness the support of alumni volunteers to act as mentors and provide access to the world of work.

“Future First is helping state schools to realise this potential, so that every young person, regardless of their background, is able to access alumni role models to boost aspiration, confidence and motivation.”

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