Esther McVey has urged Government to do more to ensure children get career guidance they need – warning the responsibility cannot fall solely on teachers.
The Tatton MP believes empowering children with the knowledge of what opportunities are available could also improve exam outcomes as young people work towards their chosen goal.
Ms McVey is supporting a backbench MP’s attempt to introduce legislation to ensure Government deliver adequate career advice.
Speaking in Parliament Ms McVey said: “I believe we can’t put more on the shoulders of teachers. An updated careers strategy better linking the National Careers Service, the Career Enterprise Company is required by the Government with greater sign posting to schools about what charities and support is out there is. How can someone aspire and work towards an exciting career if they don’t know they exist or if they don’t know those opportunities are open to people like them.
“Letting them know, the paths that have been trodden, the hobbies pursued, the work experience done, and the exam grades required for that profession - fires pupils up to achieve those grades and outcomes.
Ms McVey said guidance should not just focus on “traditional jobs” or the university route but cover should opportunities such as technology, life science and jobs of the future in a post-Covid world where technology has become forefront.
She said: “We need schools to engage with the business community who are alert to these future opportunities and have staff who can talk passionately and excitedly about these jobs.
“And we need schools not to push traditional careers and traditional routes after school and not focus on university at the exclusion of other routes.”
It is thought 65 per cent of children currently in primary schools will enter jobs which have not yet been invented.
Ms McVey’s charity If Chloe Can goes into schools and works with 12 to 14 year olds, providing career advice and mentoring from more than 200 successful career women, who give up their time for free to help future generations.
It is now working with Zoom to deliver online weekly sessions into schools over the year - with role models, guest speakers and modules on confidence, communication, goal setting, assertiveness, and resilience.
Speaking in Parliament, Ms McVey also praised the work of leading businesswoman and chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP Clare Hayward for her part in inspiring young people about career choices.