The world of work is changing, and the education and employment landscapes that young people are entering has changed significantly in the past 10 years. For young people considering their career options, good quality careers information is vital to ensure they are able to make good quality career decisions.
Young people report that they want access to careers information that relates to their aspirations. Many are willing to do their own research to find information, but would like to be introduced to content that they can build on. The types of content that young people are looking for typically relates to decisions points that they are facing, for example making subject decisions, looking for work experience or a first job, or making post-school careers decisions. Unfortunately, some young people have a limited understanding of what a ‘career’ encompasses, and may need assistance in understanding the full extent of relevant information.
Many young people do not feel they have the skills or knowledge to undertake their own careers research. Although some young people report strategies to find careers information for themselves, these were often not systematic or reliable for finding good quality information. They also do not know how to identify good quality from poor quality information, with many young people concerned about ‘fake news’ or advertising being presented instead of information that will be of use to them.
Many influencers of young people, including parents, career advisers, and service providers, do not believe that young people are motivated to find information for themselves. They often believe that young people should be accessing careers information across a wider range of platforms.
Young people and influencers access careers information across a diverse range of online and printed materials. Printed materials, despite being considered outdated for use with youth by many influencers, were still a preferred option by many young people. This is primarily due to the ability to use printed materials as a discussion started with parents and career advisers.
Parents continue to be a leading influence on their children’s career decision making, however some parents’ aspirations for their children can result in young people ignoring certain types of career information. Parents often do not have the skills and knowledge to help them make well-informed decisions with their children.
Information providers need to ensure that we are assessing the ways we present information and the messaging we are using. Self-assessment is one important step to ensure that we are providing the information our users want in the way they will consume it.
We need to continue working with influencers to help young people understand the ways they can and should be accessing information, and to inform and educate them about the vast range of information available. This needs to include information that the young people, and possibly other influencers such as parents, don’t initially see as relevant to careers.
- Careers information must be presented in a way that is relevant to the context: The time, location, and circumstances of the young person.
- Young people and their influencers have varied preferences in regards to the presentation of careers information. To adequately capture all young people and influencers, information should be available across a range of platforms and mechanisms.
- Influencers and information providers should not assume that young people know how to use common platforms and mechanisms for specific purposes. For example, many young people report not using apps or social media to find careers information, despite both being commonly used by this group and both being good quality sources of information.
- Careers education should emphasise informing young people, and their parents, in ways to find good quality careers information across a range of platforms, for example on social media and other online sources.
- Young people need training and support in critically evaluating the quality of careers information they find, to better understand the difference between good and poor quality information.
- Careers education and advice needs to be well-resourced in schools, and accessible for those who require it post-school.