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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Apprentice star backs education campaign addressing parental concerns for children’s futures

ENGLAND_ As many young people prepare to make life-changing decisions on their further education and career choices, parents of teenagers (aged 15-16) admit to having a bleak outlook on their child’s working future. According to new research from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation nearly nine in ten (87%) parents think the job market will be concerning and uncertain when their child leaves education.

However, businesses in England offer a contrasting outlook as almost half (46%) have experienced staff shortages in the last 12 months and will be actively seeking new talent. Whilst employers seek the technically trained people they need to fill roles, a huge 94% of parents admit to worrying about their teenagers’ working future with the top concerns including that they will go into a job they dislike or hate (49%), they won’t be able to find a job (45%) and they won’t have enough work experience to get the job they want (32%)

When asked what is important to them for their child’s future, three fifths (60%) of parents said their child being able to secure work after finishing their education and over half (56%) said they wanted their child to feel prepared and ready for the workplace. Despite these concerns and 98% of parents claiming they are involved when it comes to their child’s decisions about their future education and career choices, there is a gap in when it comes to T-levels.

T-levels are a new qualification focused on the real world of work, but over half (55%) of parents confess they have not yet heard of them. There is, however, desire to understand more about the options young people have as 57% of parents admit they would like to be better informed to help their child make decisions about their future career.

Designed with employers across multiple industries, T-levels offer young people aged 16-19 an ideal first step into their future career. Combining classroom study with a 45-day industry placement, young people can put learnt skills, attitudes and knowledge into action, while also getting exposure to potential employers. The two-year T-level course offers a wide range of subject choices including Healthcare Science, Education and Childcare, Accounting, Digital Support Services, Legal Services, Management and Administration and many more. After a T-level young people may go onto employment, an apprenticeship, a higher technical course, or a degree as their next career step.

The Apprentice star and father-of-two, Tim Campbell, has partnered with the Gatsby Charitable Foundation – set-up by former Science Minister and philanthropist Lord David Sainsbury – to help equip parents with the knowledge they need to understand the offer to both children and employers.

He said: “This term is a crucial time for young people to make their future choices, whether they decide to go into further education, or enter the working world. While many parents feel clued-up on some of the pathways their children can take, such as A-levels, this campaign aims to fill in any knowledge gaps when it comes to the recently introduced T-level. T-levels offer children the opportunity to develop a deep knowledge and understanding in a subject they are passionate about, then take their knowledge, attitude and practical skills to the next level through an industry placement. After a T-level your child could step into employment, an apprenticeship, a higher technical course, or a university degree. As both a businessman and parent, I can see the unique benefits T-levels present to both parents and employers. Parents can be reassured that their children are finding out more about the career opportunities open to them, while building their confidence and life skills. At the same time employers recognise that T-levels cover the key knowledge and skills areas of the most in-demand and growing sectors in the country, helping to address the skills gaps businesses are reporting. The Gatsby findings show 93% of businesses in England have experienced some sort of recruitment challenge in the last 12 months. Staff shortages (46%) and struggles to find suitable candidates (40%) are just some of the issues they have faced. 89% of employers can already see the benefits of T-levels for their businesses and their sectors overall, including helping to attract new, young talent to their industry.”

Phil Eves, Education Coordinator at BAM Construction Midlands Limited said: “As a company, we are always searching for candidates who are committed to a role in construction. We see T-levels as being the missing ‘jigsaw’ piece in finding the right talent as they have the support of the employer at the centre of everything. Providing a student with a T-level industry placement enables both the young person and employer to see where the student can fit within the organisation. This helps to establish their knowledge and skill set to meet the needs of the employer and puts them in good stead to further progress their career. As a parent myself, I have great confidence in the progression opportunities for young people through T-levels. I’m excited to see the number of schools, colleges and University Technical Colleges (UTC’s) offering T-levels increasing, so a greater number of students and employees can reap the benefits.”

Amita and Yogesh Dutt Bhardwaj, based in the West Midlands, parents of T-level student Ahana said: “When we first discussed career aspirations with Ahana we were hesitant. We are familiar with more ‘traditional’ careers like being a doctor or lawyer, but after Ahana made it clear she did not want to go down this path, we researched and discussed it and realised T-levels could help her pursue her dreams of a career in the construction industry; something she has shown an interest in since playing with Lego as a child.

“Since Ahana has started the course, she hasn’t looked back. She talks about her T-level every day and seems to really enjoy it. She loves what she is learning, and we are sure if she keeps up the hard work, she will achieve great things.”

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