It is critically important for young people to have easy access to good information and guidance on the full range of career opportunities available to them. It’s not just an issue in the UK: youth unemployment rates in Europe have risen to 20% despite the fact that 25% of companies across 17 EU states are facing problems filling vacancies.
Companies argue that graduates and other young workers are ill-prepared for the workplace and some lack the right skills. This is because careers advice has been poorly resourced for many years, with 70% of young people under 14 receiving no advice and 45% of over 14’s receiving little poor advice.
Existing career guidance platforms offer young people the opportunity to explore different career sectors, but not interactively, in a format that they are familiar with and skilled at using. So many young people do not find them engaging and do not bother. The largest failure of these platforms is that they do not connect employers to students and young people to deliver direct information on the world of work to broaden young minds. To make matters worse, many do not comprehensively describe the careers and opportunities available to young people in their local area. The result? Young people who are ill-informed about which careers are best suited to them, unemployment rates that continue to rise and companies that fail to get suitably skilled candidates.
In order to inspire young people to acquire suitable skills, most companies are spending a minimum of £250 for a single career guidance event where they typically reach less than 30 young people. A company can attend 65 such events annually depending on the resource available, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitment of the company and its future recruitment needs. Yet a study of over 300 employers by the CBI showed that over three quarters of them felt the quality of careers advice in schools was not good enough for young people to make informed decisions for their future, with 60% saying they would be prepared to be more involved in careers information, advice and guidance.
Using a new and disruptive approach to ICT, PLANit Global has developed a solution that enables companies, particularly more resource stretched SMEs, to engage with young people on careers advice, with a view to raising awareness of different industry sectors and different educational pathways. There is a drive by business groups, educational institutions and policy makers to find such a solution – one that is cost effective, engaging and applicable to all age ranges, particularly younger students aged 11-14, who have not previously received any careers advice.
The PLANit Global solution will offer a cost-effective and far-reaching career and vocational guidance solution that links young people to their prospective employers at a local and national level. It’s a model that can be easily replicated in all regions and all countries: and will enable us to achieve our vision of providing ‘local careers advice on a global scale’.