I am grateful to BBC Radio Tees for alerting me to this Report by the Prince’s Trust that highlights the work they have been doing across the United Kingdom for the past 40 years. The Report can be accessed at https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/about-the-trust/news-views/social-bank-of-mum-dad with the full report available by clicking on the side bar
According to the findings in the report; 44% of young people from poorer backgrounds say they didn’t know anyone who could help them find a job, compared to 26% of their more advantaged peers. Young people from poorer backgrounds are also less likely than their more affluent peers to have had help writing a CV, filling out a job application, preparing for an interview, or finding work experience or a first job thanks to “the social bank of mum and dad”.
- While 20% of all young people polled found some work experience through their parents, only 10% of young people from a poorer background said they did
- More than a quarter of young people from a poorer background (26%) think that people like them do not get good jobs, compared to 8% of their peers
- More than a quarter of those from a poorer background (27%) feel their family “did not know how to support me when I left school”
- More than half of young people (54%) “rarely” or “never” received help from their family with their homework.
The next generation are our untapped resource for the future of this country, even more so after the country’s decision to exit the EU.
So, what the BBC asked me, can parents do? I am sure many of you will have better ideas than me and will post them by way of advice. However, in the short time one has in a live radio interview I chose to dwell on the transfer from primary to secondary school. The importance of that transfer cannot be over-estimated and I wonder whether it is where many parents start to think they are less helpful and supportive of their children and live and schooling becomes more of a battle. Parents understand primary schools, as it is all about the basics of learning and easy to provide support. Secondary school is about subject knowledge and parents can quickly feel left behind. Good supportive schools recognise this trend and put mechanisms in place to help: but more could be achieved.
Building social capital is important and government has a role to play here by not downgrading careers education and work experience. How about some virtual work experience in areas of high unemployment to widen horizons with young people working on-line in successful companies. This might also help to show companies in successful parts of the country that there is this great untapped resource of able and enthusiastic young people waiting to be discovered in many areas of high unemployment. It is as much about moving employers out of their comfort zones and telling young people ‘to get on their bike.
Although it is worth noting that many young people that go to university do just that and willingly leave home. This may be because they know that they will be joining a community of like-minded young people. Can we learn something from that willingness to travel?