Every young person in London should have at least 100 hours of careers advice or work experience by the age of 16, says Boris Johnson.
It came as music to our ears this morning when we heard about a recent proposal within government for bridging the gap between education and the world of work. The Mayor of London is launching a report that calls for 'impartial, independent and personalised careers education' with an emphasis on the importance of giving young people information about getting a job when they leave school.
Mr Johnson believes that young people should partake in a minimum of 100 hours work experience or careers advice by the age of 16 - the age at which secondary school students sit their GCSE's. He says there needs to be an "easy to navigate" careers system. Burning2Learn believe that Johnson's report illustrates a more effective and pragmatic approach towards developing career prospects for young people.
The education model that we have today is great at turning out youngsters who are prepared to flow straight into the next stage of education - but what about preparing them for the next stage of life? Namely, the world of work.
Our young people are going to inherit the economy, that's a fact. An economy that is causing us to all continue to hold our breaths as we hope that the worst is over. Whether it's in a better state or not the next generation is going to inherit it, whether they're ready to or not. And that day isn't too far away, so as investors and stakeholders in our society and economy we need to start better preparing them for their tomorrow.
"There is a clear moral, social and economic purpose to improving careers provision for all young Londoners," says report author, Deirdre Hughes. Hughes continued to explain his view that "support for young people has stalled and most are getting a raw deal. It is not enough to just to pay lip service to careers support for them".
Burning2Learn believe that in order to prepare young people for the turbulent world of work we must develop young people as human beings; by enhancing personal and social interaction skills, restoring self-esteem and confidence and igniting motivation. In doing so we can help young people build up a bank of skills that will give them a kick start into any industry. It’s about showing them how to be employable and developing the strength of mind to be resilient.
This view is reinforced by the London mayor's report, as the author states, "More young people must be given the chance to gain more experiences of the world of work and be inspired to see possibilities and goals that are worthwhile and relevant to them."
There are lots of ways to build up these skills and Burning2Learn believe that more emphasis should be put into encouraging young people to think as creatively, independently and perceptively as possible. Creativity is especially important as the solutions to tomorrow’s problems are in the minds of our young people today. For us, opportunities to learn and grow these types of skills need to be embedded into the national curriculum - encouraging more hours of work related experience can help with that.
The rate of change may be unparalleled to that of any other time in human history, but this is not something to fear. Supporting young people as individuals will give them a fighting chance at whatever comes next - regardless of which industry they go into! It's imperative that schools reassure young people that it is ok to not know where you want to be in ten years time, and to encourage them to try new things. We asked former Secretary General of The United Nations, Kofi Annan, what he wanted to be when he was ten years old and in his response he said that he was "clueless".
We believe that encouraging schools to introduce a stronger focus on preparing young people for the world of work is an idea worth pursuing. Kids of all ages will start to realise that it isn’t just about grades, it’s about you as a person and the skills and talents you have developed through your experiences.