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Healthcare most recommended career in UK

9th December 2008

A career in healthcare is the most recommended profession in the UK, a new survey from City & Guilds reveals today.

Despite healthcare careers topping the league table of jobs for which school leavers are encouraged to apply, the survey highlights a series of inadequacies in the careers guidance system which is in turn impacting on productivity in the UK.  According to the survey, one in five workers have needed to re-train or re-skill as a result of unsatisfactory careers advice. Over half (58%) said the careers advice they had at school was unsatisfactory. Just 19% of those polled ended up in the jobs their advisor recommended. 

Joanna Hurren, General Manager Community and Society, at City & Guilds, said:

'It's very encouraging to see that the healthcare sector is reaping the benefits of school career services, particularly as it is the largest employment sector in the UK. However in the current economic climate it is important that within the sector people are correctly skilled to meet the demands of their jobs to ensure we meet the demands of the economy. Therefore, it has never been more important to address the inadequacies in the current provision of careers information and guidance.'

With unemployment figures rising to the highest level since 1997 and job losses being announced daily, many workers will need to adapt their skills or even change careers in response to the pressures of the downturn and will need information and guidance to make this transition.

However, the survey reveals that guidance is virtually non-existent outside the classroom: more than half of workers (52%) have not received any careers guidance since leaving school.  They report widespread confusion about where to find advice and are taking a scattergun approach as a result:

  • Over a quarter (26%) look to Job Centres for advice
  • One in five (23%) turn to the internet 
  • Fewer than one in 10 turn to trusted personal sources such as their employers (8%), former school, college or university (8%) or friends and family (5%)

City & Guilds commissioned the survey ahead of tomorrow's Queen's Speech, which is expected to include an Education and Skills Bill establishing the new Adult Advancement and Careers Service (AACS).   As City & Guilds is charged with ensuring that the UK's workforce is skilled to meet the UK's needs, the organisation believes that people should be advised appropriately and continually updates its qualifications to incorporate the changing demands of the economy.

Judith Norrington, Director of National Policy at City & Guilds, said:

'The stakes couldn't be higher as the AACS is set in motion. A legacy of stop-start and inadequate careers advice has left one in five of us needing to retrain or re-skill as they have made an inadequately informed choice. The economic downturn is set to compound this further as employees need to adapt their skills to the changing needs of businesses and the labour market.

'To meet the needs of the economy and our workforce, future careers advice needs to do three things. First, it must be a truly lifelong service, focused on people of all ages, not just the young at the start of their careers. This is a huge priority given the current economic pressures.

'Second, it needs to be genuinely impartial and focused on individuals' needs. Careers advice should match people's own ambitions with employer needs - our survey today shows the impact of mismatches. And third, it must be truly universal and appealing. We need careers advice people can turn to whatever their circumstances. We must not stigmatise careers advice by suggesting it is only for certain groups, like those out of work.

'Without high quality careers advice, provided by well-informed organisations able to tailor their support to individual needs and reflect expertly the way the economy's skill demands are developing, the population will be less well-prepared to adapt than the country needs them to be.'

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