Baroness Pidding: Providing the widest possible careers advice is key to opening up horizons and increasing social mobility
For many of our young people, particularly those from workless households, careers advice should be as much about inspiration as actual advice on detailed careers, says Baroness Pidding.
Improving opportunity for the next generation of young people is one of the great challenges of our time.
Education and providing the widest possible careers advice is key to opening up horizons and increasing social mobility.
For many of our young people, particularly those from workless households, careers advice should be as much about inspiration as actual advice on detailed careers. This advice should be widened out to include galvanising the support of the families of our young people; so that they can help to encourage and motivate their children.
We need to look to improve access for young people from lower-income backgrounds to networks of advice, information and experiences of work through a partnership with businesses and employers. Often network bases and contacts from the world of work come from informal social networks such as families and friends. However, not all families have these contacts, we need to make sure these avenues are made available to all.
We must have high-quality post-16 education choices for all young people: we have more people going to university than ever before, including more disadvantaged young people, but we need to expand access further to the best universities.
We also need to ensure that all young people who are ambitious and want to get on should be clear in their teenage years that there are more routes to success than just through university. Ensuring that families and young people understand the range of opportunities open to them. It is important that people understand that there are many paths to success, and it is not just about going through to university—as important as that is, and as important as it is that we make that available to as wide a group of people as we can.
Young people need to be inspired to succeed through other routes because there are many people who have been able to go through a vocational route and have made it to places which they might not have thought they were able to get to when they started off in life.
Careers advice in schools should seek to identify their students’ passions and interests at an early age and develop them. It should seek not just to inform, but also to inspire and stimulate ideas for the future lives of our young people. Unlock this interest and we can arouse so much talent and energy; allowing potential to flourish and prosper, where everyone can be at their best.
Baroness Pidding is a Conservative member of the House of Lords.