Teens keen to succeed

16th September 2005 at 01:00
Ambition not rebellion motivates the youth of today. Steve Hook reports

The modern teenager is just plain boring - or so it would seem if you study the findings of the latest research into 14 to 19-year-olds by City Guilds.

The findings, which will come as joyous news to lecturers, employers, bank managers, parents and ministers, suggest that the rebellious irresponsible youth is almost extinct, having been replaced by an altogether more sensible species of young person.

The study, undertaken by ICM on behalf of the vocational qualifications body, suggests that 97 per cent want to make their parents proud of their endeavours.

Far from hanging around aimlessly, 85 per cent of teenagers questioned in the survey described themselves as ambitious - and 94 per cent said they were prepared to work hard to achieve their goals.

And being ambitious, apparently, does not mean wanting to be a rock 'n'

roll star. The medical profession is the most respected line of work, according to 55 per cent of teenagers, and 12 per cent expect to end up working in it. Teaching is the next-most respected area, followed by the media.

Chris Humphries, director general of City Guilds, says the survey makes the argument for the importance of vocational training in colleges.

Popular vocational areas for teenagers include many of the disciplines commonly found in colleges, including hairdressing, engineering and IT, according to the research.

And many expressed vocational aspirations rather than a desire to be wealthy as their reason for choosing a particular career.

On average, teenagers see themselves earning pound;32,000 a year by the time they are 30.

Mr Humphries said: "The research shows that teenagers are full of ambition and keen to have a career that offers good prospects.

"While this is encouraging to hear, it's essential that young people are aware of all their career options before making any important decisions about the profession that they would like to pursue.

"We also need to ensure that the ambitions of our younger generation are nurtured and their skills honed, so that as a nation we can produce a skilled workforce and develop business leaders that we can be proud of."

Of course the teenage obsession with celebrity still continues, although even famous people are inspiring youngsters to think about their future.

Airline and music industry tycoon Richard Branson is among the most inspirational of celebrities, although those who get the thumbs down include Simon Cowell, the creator of Pop Idol.

The survey also found that 49 per cent of teenagers would like to be self-employed, which supports another study published by City Guilds, looking at the aspirations of 14 to 25-year-olds, including students in further education.

Telephone interviews with more than 1,000 people found that the entrepreneurial spirit is catching on.

Many reported wanting to be millionaires, inspired not just by celebrities such as school dinners chef Jamie Oliver but also by their own friends.

The researchers found 48 per cent of 16 to 25-year-olds know someone who has set up their own business before the age of 30.

* steve.hook@tes.co.uk


Most inspirational celebrities for 14 to 19-year-olds:

Virgin boss Richard Branson

Olympic athlete Kelly Holmes

Microsoft boss Bill Gates

TV chef Jamie Oliver

Campaigner Bob Geldof

Rugby star Jonny Wilkinson

Footballer Wayne Rooney

easyJet's Stelios Haji-Ioannou

Pop star Beyonce Knowles

Prime Minister Tony Blair

Most aspirational professions:







Beauty hairdressing



Travel leisure

Careers that young people most respect:



Animal care


Civil service






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