Sheffield UTC notes parents’ fears over future

Nick Crew, Sheffield UTC
Nick Crew, Sheffield UTC

A vast majority of parents are more worried about their child not finding a job when they leave education than anything else.

New research by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust shws that 66 per cent of parents fret over children’s future employment prospects. Nearly half of thsoe questioned said they were stressed about their child’s education and 80 per cent said the education system needed change to reflect modern working Britain.

Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity that promotes University Technical Colleges, surveyed more than 1,000 parents with teenagers at mainstream schools and, in a separate survey, 450 parents whose children attend UTCs.

UTCs are state funded specialist technical schools for 14 to 19-year-olds where employers work with the colleges, to help train future creatives, scientists, engineers and technicians.

Nick Crew, Executive Principal, UTC Sheffield, said: “UTC Sheffield provides strong job prospects for young people in sectors where there are regional skills gaps. Employers allow students to participate in real-life projects, so they gain work experience of work and develop the skills needed to go on to a career or higher education.”

UTC Sheffield specialises in two sectors with regional opportunities for business growth. They are the advanced engineering and manufacturing, and creative and digital industries. A second UTC opens in Sheffield in September 2016 at the Olympic Legacy Park, to specialise in human sciences and computing. The UTC holds a showcase event on October 21st. Call 0114 2603970.

Seventy per cent of parents asked said the UTC has made their child more confident of getting a job, and 85 per cent believed the UTC prepared their child for the world of work. Over 75 per cent of UTC parents felt their child knew which industry they will work in, compared with just half of parents of mainstream school children.

Parents recognised the need for a balanced education approach with three quarters saying their children should have the option of a combined technical and academic education at 14.

But parents are confused about the options available. Although more than half of parents with children in mainstream schools felt well informed about academies, only two in five parents knew about University Technical Colleges. Eighty-six per cent of parents said they might consider a UTC for their child if there was one available in their area.

Dr Kathy Weston, Director of Keystone Aspire and researcher in the area of parental engagement, said: “The effect of parental support over a child’s school life is greatly underestimated. Parents are attuned to their children’s needs, understand their strengths, talents and interests and want the best for them. Setting aside time to talk about career aspirations and education options in a relaxed environment is hugely beneficial.”

Peter Glover, Senior Manager at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), said: “The youth unemployment rate is still much higher than the adult rate, and unemployment whilst young can seriously harm a young person’s future career.

“There are many jobs that offer positive career prospects for young people. Our Careers of the Future report highlighted opportunities in science, engineering and information technology, as well as in health and care, the education sector and construction, to name just a few examples. Young people need to consider how the available opportunities marry up with their own interests and abilities.”