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Young people's experiences of the transition to work: survey results

8 April 2016

The House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility has published its report on the transition from school to work today. As part of its inquiry, the Committee conducted an online survey to find out more about the experiences of young people in their transition into work. The results of this survey have been published today, alongside the Committee's report.

The survey

On 28 July 2015, the Select Committee on Social Mobility launched an online survey to understand young people's experiences of moving from school to work. The survey was open to people aged 14–24 year olds and ran until 16 October 2015.

Overview of findings

While overall responses were largely neutral or positive, differences emerged when responses were analysed by respondent characteristic. For example:

  • Older people (those aged 19–24) tended to be more negative in their responses than younger respondents.
  • Females were more hesitant and more likely to be neutral compared to males who were more likely to express an opinion.
  • White and Asian/Asian British ethnic groups were similar in their responses.
  • Responses differed for people with disabilities, special educational needs (SEN), those in care, those who have been in trouble with the law, and those with caring responsibilities.

Responses to the 'free-text' questions revealed a number of interesting findings:

  • Despite people saying that they were aware of lots of options at 16, when describing the options open to them nearly all respondents talked about courses.
  • Most respondents connected courses to going to university. There was little mention of employment on the whole.
  • Despite saying that parents were the biggest source of support (86 per cent), people mostly talked about guidance they received from teachers/tutors.

Respondents raised a number of key issues regarding the guidance they received including: 

  • Implied hierarchies between options at 16, with A-Levels seen as the best and sixth form as the preferred location.
  • Limited guidance about options aside from A-Levels and staying on at the same institution.
  • Pressure put on achieving grades with many people feeling that options were not available should grades not be achieved.
  • The difficult circumstances and issues being faced by people at this age ranged from homelessness, mental health, pressure from parents/guardians, illness, geographical limitations.
  • Lack of confidence was one of the three most highly selected barriers for survey respondents. The other most cited barriers were achieving grades and finance.

Further information

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