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The Youth Voice Census 2019 is a fantastic way to hear from young people in their own voice and enables us to understand the impact of careers education provision. A policy agenda on careers education for young people should be informed by young people.

There is much to celebrate. The census highlights that careers education is improving. It shows that there is increased engagement with employers among secondary school pupils. 63% of 14-24 year olds recalled having had an employer visit in their school, and 52% were offered work experience, with 71% rating the experience positively (substantially higher than last year). It’s encouraging that most young people agreed that work experience could help build useful skills (83%) and the experience to help get a job (81%).

Apprenticeship awareness is on the rise. Last year’s census reported that 58% of young people have had apprenticeships discussed with them, while in 2019 this figure increased to 83%, with 27% of students having had apprenticeships discussed with them five times or more. More young people are meeting employers and having work experience at secondary school now than at university. 36% of young people know what social action is (up substantially from last year). 50% of young people are ‘quite confident’ or ‘very confident’ that they will move into meaningful work.


There are clear signs of progress but we still have work to do. The census presented an opportunity to receive feedback directly from young people about what could be improved in careers education. From this, we know we need to ensure young people have career pathways presented to them more effectively. This involves more conversations, more face-to-face interactions – and more opportunities for work experience.

One young person said “schools should give students some options which are tailored to their interests/aspirations and not just let students try to find work experience placements on their own.” This is exactly what we are setting out to do. It is paramount that we ensure equality of access to information and opportunities. When this is strengthened, barriers to employment are reduced. Since the launch of the National Careers Strategy in 2017, The Careers & Enterprise Company has been working with schools and colleges across England to ensure that excellent careers education is the new normal.


This transformation is underway.  More than 2,000 business volunteers are mobilised across the country – working directly with schools and colleges. They’re helping them to develop careers provision on a strategic level  and they’re making the most of their business networks to ensure repeated employer encounters with young people. While we still have work to do, I feel very proud of the progress that has been made. This is proof, that for every person involved, and every pound invested in careers education – young people are becoming better prepared and inspired for the world of work.

I congratulate Youth Employment UK on bringing together these rich insights for us to act on.

To download the report from Youth Employment UK, visit: https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/youth-voice-census/