When advice fails to match ambition

Lack of careers guidance may be limiting students, poll finds

Careers advice is failing to keep pace with pupils' needs, leading to misconceptions about some jobs, a survey has found.

Research by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) also reveals that although 84 per cent of 14- to 19-year-olds believe they are "quite likely" or "very likely" to enter their chosen career, in almost half (43 per cent) of cases, careers advice has not influenced their decisions about their future.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) are taking their next step because their parents told them to, while 15 per cent are doing the same as their friends. The vast majority (84 per cent) would like more advice about available options from their school or college, and 61 per cent would find advice from industry helpful.

The study indicates that the lack of careers advice could be having a detrimental effect on young people's choices, with 71 per cent believing you need a degree to enter the professional services - for example, becoming an accountant.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of the AAT, said that although young people were "remarkably driven" in thinking about their career plans, guidance had not kept pace.

"An absence of advice is also resulting in myths, such as that you need a degree to enter a career like accounting. This absolutely isn't true, and young people should be aware of alternatives such as apprenticeships and professional training, which can create a route into fantastic careers," he said.

The government recently published statutory guidance for schools forcing them to promote apprenticeships and vocational routes.

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