Children’s Commissioner
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The Big Ambition for Jobs and Skills: Reflections from my Ambassadors

As Children’s Commissioner, I’ve spoken to thousands of children about their lives, their hopes and their dreams for the future. It’s clear this is an ambitious generation that wants to get on and do well.  

Children are eager to work hard, and they speak about not just wanting jobs but long-term careers that fulfil their goals. But some say they need better support to become successful adults.  

The Big Ambition results show that while most children feel they have the same opportunities as their peers, and most feel they have learnt about the skills they will need in later life, perhaps unsurprisingly, these are not universal experiences. 

My young Ambassadors have been sharing their views on each of the themes from The Big Ambition, continuing with jobs and skills:  

Sumaira:  

Schools and teachers must be equipped and trained to help all students to succeed, not only within but after school. A simple example could be increasing the number of local employers and businesses invited into schools to answer questions and provide advice, allowing students to understand the opportunities around them.  

I know that while some children feel confident in their knowledge of apprenticeships, money, university options and career paths, this won’t be the case for all – as evidenced in The Big Ambition. That’s why it is important schools are able to educate young people on the issues that are important to them.  

Rylie:  

I am passionate about preparing young people for work. I think the education system doesn’t do enough to set young people up to succeed – I attended a technical college and now I am in an apprenticeship, so I have firsthand experience of the impact of becoming career-ready.  

Education needs to have a focus on helping young people develop their core skills. Now more than ever employers are looking for well-rounded individuals and not just a set of perfect grades, so it’s vital that the education system is supporting young people to develop the skills they need to succeed in the world of work. If young people aren’t given the chance to lead a group or present in school, how can they be expected to develop these skills after they leave school. Supporting young people in being able to share the skills that they have developed with examples similar to a portfolio that can help prepare young people for interviews. 

More widely young people should be encouraged to take part in more meaningful employer engagement, and not just have it as a tick box exercise. I took part in 13 work experience programs which helped me make an informed decision when it came to leaving school and leading me into a construction apprenticeship.  

We also need to break down the stereotypes of technical and vocational routes. Often apprenticeships and technical routes are frowned upon at school. I often heard ‘you’re too clever for an apprenticeship’ and there is still a negative narrative around these options. Times have changed, and we need to think about what is best for children and young people as they face the world of work – apprenticeships provide a great opportunity to get both hands-on experience and the education qualification. 

Emmanuel:  

The importance of improving jobs and skills for young people has many benefits, not just to young people but can also lead to a more inclusive and diverse workforce. This diversity can foster innovation, creativity, and collaboration in the workplace, ultimately driving economic growth and prosperity.  

Policymakers should be asking how they can help equip young people with the tools and resources to succeed in the workforce, and how we can reduce employment rates among young people.  

My college has invited major confectionary companies to have workshops with students. They talk to us about opportunities within the organisation like apprenticeships and jobs, which speaking with some of my peers I know have found this beneficial. I was surprised to hear about some of the roles available at these organisations like hearing about their legal teams which deal with their legal matters. 

Channel website: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/blog/the-big-ambition-for-jobs-and-skills-reflections-from-my-ambassadors/

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