Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Pretty Dry Analysis, But A Link To a Good Study

An interesting study conducted by IPSOS released this week studying the aspirations of young people. Keir's had a read of the data and drawn some conclusions. Bear in mind, it's late at night, so the analysis is hardly fine-tooth-comb stuff.

The results make for an intriguing read though. Firstly because it's generally positive. But there's some data to get the mind motoring.

The study was conducted with 14-16 year olds and it is particularly telling that they said they feel they want more advice on further education from people who had actually experienced it; rather than just their teachers and careers advisors. Combine this with the fact that they were generally optimistic about their futures and options and we could deduce that they may feel differently if they are told some of the negatives that could come from further eduction. Negatives such as an ultimately useless degree combined with massive debts and no jobs to come out to. I don't want to sound like a Scrooge, but maybe more realistic advice would change the outcome of this particular study and the young people themselves may be able to make more informed decisions about their futures. Also factor in that careers advisors can be total morons so it's not surprising the pupils want advice from elsewhere. Keir's careers advisor told him to look into work in leisure centres in South Wales. Great advice considering he's now doing a Masters in Politics and working in Westminster. Good job girls were taking up too much of Keir's thoughts at that age to pay attention to some rubbish careers advisor.

Following on from that digression, a whopping 75% said they wanted to do AS and A Levels after Year 11. But 20% said they wanted to get a job and 23% said they wanted to get an apprenticeship. It is definitely a fair point to say that over the course of the last Government, Labour did not to enough to balance the economy; or rather, it let the financial services grow way faster than other sectors. Manufacturing went up, but financial services sky-rocketed. The fact that 43% said they wanted to go straight into work after Year 11 in some form or another may suggest a changing trend. Though the percentage wanting apprenticeships could be higher. I think it is generally a good thing that 75% want to do AS and A Levels though. The bigger problem comes with the next stage when it comes to deciding whether to go to University or not.

It is somewhat upsetting that the main way the pupils viewed "success" in school is via exam results. But also what struck me was how some pupils saw their societal or biological factors as a barrier to success. 16% of the pupils said they thought their ethnicity would make it more difficult for them to succeed in life, 11% thought their family background would do the same and 11% thought their gender would. This is pretty worrying for children of that age. And even more worrying? 35% thought that having a disability would make it more difficult for them to succeed in life. Work to do there. Not that I have any ideas.

I haven't read through the whys and whatfors; only the actual data. But it's well worth a read.


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