Don’t ask your parents, just ask Google for careers advice!


New research reveals that teenagers are most likely to turn to Google (52%) for career inspiration, ahead of their parents (41%) and teachers (37%)

The research, carried out by the Royal Academy of Engineering, explores the relationship between teens aged 13 to 18 and their parents when thinking about the future, and found that search engines were the top choice as a source for information (52%) versus both parents (41%) and teachers (37%).

Teenagers today rank passion as the most important qualifier for any future job, with 63% saying they think they will find a career they are passionate about.

The research also suggests that parents recognise their children should learn from their own experience with career choices, with 74% of parents of 18 year olds and under saying that their children should consider if their future career is something that they are passionate about today.

Parents selected this over and above other considerations like their academic skills or earning potential – even as only 35% say their current career reflects what they enjoyed as a teenager.

The research indicates that starting conversations with young people about the future by talking about their passions today, rather than just asking them what they want to be when they grow up, may be a way to make these conversations more positive and less stressful.

A third of young people say that simply being asked what they want to be when they grow up makes them feel pressured and 30% say it makes them feel anxious.    

The findings have informed a new campaign, #ThisIsEngineering, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering in collaboration with EngineeringUK and industry partners, which aims to provide more young people with an opportunity to explore how their current passions could lead to fulfilling careers through engineering.

The campaign will illustrate the role engineering plays in everyday life and popular culture – from fashion to sport. It comes as figures from a forthcoming EngineeringUK report show that there is an annual demand for at least 124,000 engineers and technicians with core engineering skills.

Says Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering: 

“What sets this campaign apart is that we are engaging young people in conversations, on social media, about the things they love today, and how engineering is relevant to them, rather than starting by asking where their career may take them in ten years’ time – a difficult thing to envisage as a teenager.

“There will be a high demand for engineers from all backgrounds in the future, but not enough young people get the opportunity to explore what a career in engineering may offer that’s relevant to them today. We want to tap into young people’s passions and interests and to show them that engineering gives them a chance to shape the future doing something that they love.”

Adds Dr. Claire Halsey, Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Parenting Expert: 

“We are putting tremendous pressure on kids to make decisions impacting their future whilst in secondary school, when in fact our brains are still being shaped at age 18.”

“As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children follow their interests and passions at school and afterwards, and find the steps and options to pursue what they love into a career. Engineering is under-recognised as a varied route into a wide range of industries, and helps young people realise their career path isn’t an ‘all or nothing’ choice.”

More information is available at www.ThisisEngineering.org.uk

Chris Price

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