A new survey commissioned by BAE Systems has found that more than 40 per cent of young people in the UK are putting career plans on hold due to the Covid pandemic.

Commissioned to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week (Feb 8-12), the research included over 2,000 people in the UK aged between 16 and 24. It revealed the substantial effect Covid is having on how young people view their careers and how it is shaping their work priorities.

A jobs market at its toughest since the 2008 financial crisis has led to a fifth (21 per cent) saying they are even more confused about their career path, with 20 per cent of respondents also reporting that the industry they had wanted to work in has been deeply impacted by recent events.

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“It’s clear that currently, the path for young people looking to enter the job market is extremely tough,” said Richard Hamer, Education and Skills Director at BAE Systems.

“The ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic are far reaching and have left students with greater uncertainty about their future. That’s why it’s important that those of us who can, must continue to create new opportunities for young people, working hand in hand with the government and wider industry, to make available options known to young people.

“Apprenticeships play a significant role, providing people with the necessary skills to work in highly specialised and technical industries. Through on-the-job learning of practical skills, the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals and the provision of support at every step of their training, apprenticeships can offer an entry into a long-term and successful career.”

In terms of what young people rate most highly in a career, a good salary was the leading option (41 per cent) with stability and routine (30 per cent) and a future-proofed career (25 per cent) also featuring prominently. Almost a third (31 per cent) of young people said continuous learning and the ability to develop their skill set was an important factor in choosing a career and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) said they have or would consider an apprenticeship.

Louise Fairclough is a first year Chartered Management Degree Apprentice with BAE Systems. She has been working at home since joining the company in January following a virtual recruitment process, an indication of the vastly different careers landscape young people are now facing. Despite the challenges, Fairclough says she is happy with how things are going in her new role.

“I have already had the opportunity to contribute to projects,” she said, “including the Learner Voice survey which collects feedback from apprentices and helps the business to make informed decisions with regards to the running of its apprentice induction programme.

“I would recommend doing an apprenticeship, both to school and college leavers as well as anyone thinking about retraining. There are a wealth of opportunities provided right from the get-go and I have received a huge amount of support from the company.”



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