Inadequate Career Advice Leaves British Workers Unfulfilled

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Two fifths would have chosen different profession with better guidance

Many psychometric and on-line careers tools are based solely on interests which, surprisingly, are not the most important element for career decisions

New research released today sheds damning light on the effectiveness of career advice delivered in schools during recent decades. Despite three quarters of British adults receiving some vocational guidance, two thirds say it was not appropriate or useful. This rises to 73% among those aged 41 to 50. As a result, two thirds would have taken a different career path if they’d benefited from the right intervention when they were younger, according to a survey by Home Learning College*.

On a more heartening note, the findings reveal an improvement in the younger generation’s experience. In fact, 90% of those aged under 20 received career advice at school, with 44% saying it was appropriate.

Parents are credited with giving the best advice by 25% of respondents, followed by teachers and university lecturers with 11% of the vote. Friends receive a positive mention from 9%, with professional career advisers coming in a lowly fourth at just 7%. However, a startling 40% of adults say no one has ever provided any useful career advice throughout their life.

The most fulfilled workers can be found in London, with just 35% saying they would have chosen a different route with better guidance. At the opposite end of the scale, 48% of adults in Wales would have done things differently if they had received appropriate career advice.

“Many psychometric and on-line careers tools are based solely on interests which, surprisingly, are not the most important element for career decisions,” says Occupational Psychologist Sherridan Hughes. “Many young people don’t know what they want to do, and without scientific assessment it can be difficult to advise correctly and avoid picking ideas at random in the hopes that one may spark some interest.

“It is important to consider innate talent and not just academic results, which can so easily be influenced by whether one likes the teacher and the effectiveness of the teaching. While many schools and colleges have introduced some psychometric input into careers counselling, there may still be a tendency to nominate one of the teachers as the careers person with minimal, if any, training. What pupils really need is a proper counselling consultation with a trained professional.”

“The advice we receive in our formative years can affect the choices we make throughout the rest of our lives,” says Dave Snow, Academic Director at Home Learning College. “However, it’s increasingly common to have more than one career throughout life. We all have the ability to positively change our circumstances. The key is to take advantage of the information and services available in order to stimulate personal and professional development.”

For information on Home Learning College’s range of accredited career-enhancing distance learning courses visit

*Conducted among 2,000 British adults

About Home Learning College
Home Learning College is the largest vocational distance learning provider in the UK, and is accredited by the National Union of Students (NUS), allowing its 65,000 students to enjoy the discounts and services available with the NUS Extra Card.

All Home Learning College courses lead to professional CV-enhancing, employer recognised qualifications, including AAT, Sage, CompTIA, Microsoft, ICB and CIW. Subjects covered include book-keeping, accounting, IT and computing, web design and many more.

Home Learning College students benefit from a dedicated in-house tutoring service and the Virtual Learning Community - an online learning environment which facilitates the delivery of course material and peer networking.

For more information on all courses visit Home Learning College, follow us on Twitter @home_learning or check out student testimonials and other video content on our YouTube channel:

Tor Goldfield
Home Learning College Communications Manager
Tel: 020 8676 6258
Mobile: 07843 335606
Email: tor(dot)goldfield(at)homelearningcollege(dot)com


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