Author: Sarah Hathaway
There is no denying the impact of the government’s new apprenticeship trailblazers – at last count there are over 20 professional sectors that have standards ready for delivery and over 40 that are in development, and that number hides a range of levels and specialisms. Suffice to say then that there has been a lot of effort by employers, the education sector and professional bodies in opening up new routes into professional careers.
But the big question is, how many young people, especially those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, are aware of these new opportunities? How many parents have a level of understanding that will enable them to offer the right support and advice – particularly about the fact that such careers are accessible?
Access to the Professions group was set up to encourage young people from all backgrounds to think about a career in one of the professions and to offer help and support, both to young people and their advisers. In addition, we think it’s important that policy makers recognise the contribution that professional bodies make in this area. Often we are last to the table.
Our research in 2014 showed that 14-24 year olds from lower socio-economic groups had statistically significantly lower awareness, aspirations and expectations of becoming a professional. Critically, the views of their parents were the same. However, it wasn’t all bad news. Perceptions of life as a professional were generally positive. The weight of perception tended towards life as a professional being exciting, offering freedom how and when you do your tasks, greater earnings, more opportunity for flexible working but at the price of longer working hours.
This year’s Professions Week launches on 9 November 2015 with a reception for MPs and policymakers, leaders of professional bodies and education leaders. Throughout the week we will be promoting professional careers for young people. There is a conference on 9 and 10 November being run by the Careers Development Institute (CDI) in Cardiff and Access to the Professions with Total Professions will be talking with careers advisers on the latest information and opportunities available.
I know many professional bodies are trying to reach this audience, and as a sector we have such an important role in delivering careers information, alongside employers and government.
If you’d like to discuss becoming a member of Access to the Professions and participating in Professions Week, please drop me a line at [email protected] (Chair) or Toni (Vice-Chair) on [email protected] .