New figures from GetMyFirstJob.co.uk show that Covid-19 has had a major impact on career preference. Since last year, there has been a huge rise in the proportion of young people wishing to work in childcare, health & social care, or education & training. Across these sectors, interest has risen by two-thirds (64%).
The figures form one of the most robust national assessments of post-education career preference. Over 25,000 school, college, and university leavers register with GetMyFirstJob every quarter and specify which sectors they would prefer to work in.
Comparing data from Q3 (July to September) 2019 to Q3 2020, childcare, health & social care, and education & training are the highest risers – now the second, fourth and sixth most popular career pathway choices for young people.
The desire to work in childcare has risen by 66% – perhaps no surprise, given the crucial role these workers have played in 2020.
Commenting on the career preferences that have risen in popularity, Julie Hyde, executive director for Education & Training Strategy at awarding organisation NCFE, said:
‘These findings provide a good deal of optimism for the long-term of these sectors, which are so vital for our economy and society. We cannot underestimate however the impact so far of the recruitment challenges faced by the childcare and health and social care sectors, struggling with a critical shortfall in qualified staff and a historical drop in the number of young people and apprentices being recruited to fill the gap.
‘Coupled with the fact that this age group has already been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, it is critical that we maximise the opportunity presented by the findings. This means supporting career development for young people, to satisfy the demand for skilled workers in a way the economy needs. We need to see an equal desire from employers to being open to recruit younger adults for these crucial roles.’
Layla, 21, from London, who would like to work in childcare, said: ‘I have an underlying passion for working with children. The main reason I am so passionate about a career in Early Years in particular, is because I just love the concept of being part of the early learning and development stages of a child’s life. Ultimately I am looking for a job that will allow me to make a difference and a career in childcare is what I believe will offer me this.’
Lindsey Doe, managing director of Tinies Daycare said:
‘In recent years we have seen a significant decline of qualified nursery practitioners entering the sector, so this is very good news, and I hope, a turning point. We know that working in the early years sector is an extremely rewarding career, and the evidence is clear that a high-quality workforce has a significant impact on the quality of provision and outcomes for children. Choosing to work in childcare is a solid career path for young people to embark on and we need more great people entering the sector, to help educate the next generation and support working parents.’