With the new technical education system being rolled out in England, young people have a choice of high-quality routes and qualifications to take after 16, including apprenticeships, T and A levels. It’s more important than ever that they can make informed choices about which path to follow, based not on misconceptions but on the accurate career information available from these qualifications.
We know that young people most often turn to their parents as a source of career guidance. Providing parents with accurate and independent information about the full range of education and career options available to their children is therefore essential to enable all young people to make informed decisions about their future.
What in Studies Tells us
Research commissioned by Gatsby earlier this year found that nearly 3 in 4 (71%) parents feel overwhelmed by the number of career and educational choices available to their children. Almost two-thirds (67%) said their child had expressed an interest in exploring a future career they knew nothing about, and almost as many (62%) admitted they rely mostly on their own experience when advising their children about their potential future options may be.
A survey of 2,000 parents of secondary school students in England was conducted Talking Futures – The National Gatsby Campaign, which helps parents, guardians and caregivers of children ages 11–18 have constructive and informed conversations with their children about education and career choices. The survey explores parents’ views on today’s labor market, as well as how and to what extent they are able to support their child in finding the right path.
The sense of confusion is compounded by the fact that parents also feel the need to have extensive knowledge about education and careers in order to provide useful advice. The majority (83%) of parents admit to feeling concerned that they are not taking into account all the options that exist, including ones they know nothing about, when having these conversations with their children.
where Parents maybe Access Support
Talking Futures aims to boost parents’ confidence and give them the information they need to have more informed conversations with their children about education and careers.
In May of this year, Talking Futures launched a a new interactive online tool“Talking cards” that are designed to break this information down into manageable chunks and give parents the information and pointers they need to guide their child through the decision-making process and discover careers that might interest them.
Schools and colleges are also key sources of information for parents. Following a successful pilot in 2019 in which Gatsby tested different approaches to engaging with parents across the school and college system, Gatsby is partnering with the Careers & Enterprise Company to deliver a national rollout of Talking Futures to support educators in connecting parents to careers programs in school and technical school. Careers & Enterprise has developed a a set of tools to support career leaders to strengthen the role of parents in career decision-making and increase their involvement.
The toolkit is based on research exploring how institutions can best support parents to help young people make informed decisions about careers and education. The Careers & Enterprise Company has a number of resources for use by schools and colleges, including: (i) activities for parents for events such as parents’ evenings and special family activities;
(ii) student-centered activities to strengthen the role of parents in decision-making; (iii) supporting career leaders to identify activities that will complement existing offerings; (iv) practical tips and advice on how to deliver each type of session, and (v) a range of preparatory activities to help you and your parents get the most out of each session.
Heads of educational institutions should ensure that all school/college parent engagement strategies include a vocational education component
Education leaders should ensure that their careers leaders, careers advisers and teachers are aware of this Talking Futures Teacher Resources and actively use them to engage parents in a school or college career program.
Providers of technical education pathways need to ensure that they provide information that is accessible to parents at key decision points to enable them to understand the changing landscape of technical education.
Leslie Thain, Head of Career Development Programs, The Gatsby Foundation
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