Youth Voice Census Report 2020

How can STEM Learning address the challenges facing young people?

The publication of the 2020 Youth Voice Census Report by Youth Employment UK is a timely reminder of the need to listen to and value the voices of young people. The report demonstrates some of the concerns young people have for the future and offers some insight into young people’s attitudes to education, work and other related issues.

Colourful hands held up in the air with speech bubbles

The importance of meaningful work experience

1,390 young people were surveyed, of which 82% were between the ages 14-19, including 56% female respondents, and their responses indicated a need for more work experience opportunities, including more frequent visits from apprenticeship providers and employers. Unfortunately, these opportunities are at greater risk during economic recession and at a time of unemployment and social distancing.

Inequality in the provision of careers information

The report suggested that young men are more likely to hear about apprenticeship opportunities and starting a business, while young women are more likely to hear about academic opportunities. Young black men, and those with additional educational needs, are less likely to hear about apprenticeships and opportunities at university. Worryingly, those receiving free school meals are 20% more likely to be told about accessing Jobcentre provision. This needs addressing to ensure more opportunities for all young people and to give employers access to the broadest pool of young people from all backgrounds.

Confidence levels

Young men were typically more confident in their ability to find work than young women. 34% of black respondents were ‘not very confident at all’ that there would be quality work opportunities in their local area compared to 22% of Asian respondents and 9% of white respondents.

Improving the work experience offering in schools

86% of respondents agreed that work experience helped them make decisions about the future and, interestingly, almost 60% of respondents found their placements themselves, or through a parent, carers or other relative. Compared to this, only 24% of placements were sourced through the school itself which highlights a greater need for support and professional development, and better links with employers.

The report suggested ways to improve, including presenting more varied opportunities to all pupils, both vocational and academic, and more work experience opportunities for all students throughout the duration of school, based on a student’s interests.

How can STEM Learning help?

Inspiring young people and ensuring access to relevant careers support is as important now, in the midst of COVID-19, as it has ever been.

The UK continues to face a STEM skills shortage, with governments, educators and employers eager to find creative ways to inspire young people to consider a STEM career, while offering a broad and balanced curriculum.

STEM Learning support pupils by improving the teaching of STEM subjects in the classroom and providing professionally recognised CPD for teachers, supporting parents with home learning and through its STEM Ambassadors programme. By educating parents and educators on the importance of STEM, they can guide and inspire pupils to pursue STEM subjects.

STEM Learning is committed to closing the attainment gap with a suite of new resources, training and guidance. These cover a wide range of topics, from linking careers to the STEM curriculum and looking at how schools can work more effectively with STEM employers. This content also supports achievement of the Gatsby Careers Benchmarks and helps create closer working relationships between employers and STEM subject teachers. This, in turn, inspires young people and links them with potential employers.

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