Schools are letting down their students when it comes to career advice, finds Kimberley Dondo


Over a quarter of Brits (27%) leave secondary school without any careers advice, according to a new poll commissioned by Oxford Open Learning Trust.

Only three out of ten (30%) adults knew which career they wanted to pursue when they left secondary school, while one in ten (12%) believe they were pushed into choosing a career path too young.

It is quite evident that making careers decisions while in school does not always pan out:only 24% of workers are currently in the career they chose while in secondary school.

Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust, says:  “Many Brits received very different careers advice to the guidance offered in schools today. It is interesting to see the differences in generations and how they feel their secondary school pushed them towards studying certain subjects or going to university.”

Most respondents felt their schools agenda geared them towards university, despite rising tuition fees and the introduction of several apprenticeship schemes: 50% of 18-24 year old were still steered towards higher education, compared to 28% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds. Only 9% of the respondents felt the advice that they were given was impartial.

Outside of the school system almost a third (31%) admitted that their parents and guardians only had limited advice to give them, although 42% stated that they were supportive of their eventual career path.

Dr Smith adds: “We were shocked to discover so many people felt the careers advice they received in secondary school wasn’t impartial and that they felt pushed into one career or another. Despite there being more jobs available, many still feel they are being forced to choose a career path at 16 and this is one of the reasons there are so many career changers in their twenties.”