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Education

Young welsh people not getting relevant career advice

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aatYOUNG people in the Wales are driven to succeed at an early age, with more than four in five young people aged 14-19 (83%) having given thought to their career options and the right steps to achieve the job they want. However, new research from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has found that the careers advice they are receiving is not keeping pace with their demands, resulting in some misleading assumptions such as that you need a degree to enter careers like accounting. 

The survey commissioned by the AAT ahead of this year’s A Level and GCSE exam results found that 14-19 year olds in Wales are broadly optimistic about their prospects, with 86% believing they are ‘quite likely’ or ‘very likely’ to enter their chosen career. However, almost half (43%) said that formal careers advice has not been very influential in them reaching this decision, or that they’ve received no careers guidance at all. As a result, 27% of young people are taking their next career or education step purely because their parents told them to, and 13% of them are just doing the same as their friends – risking talented youngsters ‘drifting’ into a career they are not suited to. Encouragingly, young people in Wales are considering a wide range of options, with a third (33%) having considered Apprenticeships/ Traineeships and 23% having looked at professional training.

However, the most popular path remains AS and A Levels, with more than half of young people having considered these as future options (57%). A huge 83% of those surveyed said that they would like, or would have liked, more advice from their school or college on their future options. While 68% of young people said they would like, or would have liked, guidance from teachers, more than half (58%) said that direct advice from those already in the industry they aspire to would be helpful, and 36% named trade bodies and employers as potential sources of help.

The study indicates that the lack of careers advice could be having a detrimental effect on young people’s choices, with 78% believing that you need a degree to enter the professional services industry – for example a job in accounting. Mark Farrar, chief executive of the Association of Accounting Technicians, commented: “This research shows that the young people who have grown up through the recession are remarkably driven in thinking about their future career plans and acting on them. However, careers advice in schools and colleges isn’t keeping pace with this demand, meaning that some young people are relying on what their friends or parents tell them.

An absence of advice is also resulting in myths, such as that you need a degree to enter a career like accounting. This absolutely isn’t true, and young people should be aware of alternatives such as Apprenticeships and professional training which can create a route into fantastic careers.” The research also looked at the biggest concerns of young people, who have grown up in a time of economic austerity and uncertainty about jobs. The two biggest concerns for young people in Wales are being financially stable and unemployment, with 42% each of respondents naming them as a worry. However, these figures are lower than a similar study amongst young people carried out by AAT in 2010, in which 56% were concerned about being financially stable and 50% worried about being unemployed, indicating that young people may perceive that wider economic conditions are improving. AAT is a professional membership body which awards skills-based accountancy and finance qualifications. The AAT Accounting Qualification offers a fast-track, non-graduate route into chartered accountancy. School leavers who go through this route can qualify much quicker than someone who goes to university.

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Education

New free school meals policy launched at Ysgol Bro Preseli in Crymych

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A NATIONAL scheme to roll out free school meals to the youngest learners in primary schools in Wales has been launched today (Wednesday, 7 September) by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Sian Gwenllian MS at Ysgol Bro Preseli in Crymych.

In Pembrokeshire, the rollout will include learners in:

full time nursery

• reception

• and years 1 and 2 pupils in primary schools

Known as the Universal Primary Free School Meals, the policy is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

The agreement will see free school meals extended to ALL primary school learners over the next three years.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “No child should go hungry. Families throughout Wales are under huge pressure because of the cost-of-living crisis and we are doing everything we can to support them.

“Extending free school meals to all primary schools is one of a number of measures we are taking to support families through this difficult time.

“I’m really pleased to see how our schools have embraced this and the speed at which they and our public services have worked together to begin providing free school meals.

“We know younger children are more likely to be living in relative income poverty, which is why the youngest of our learners will be the first to benefit.”

Cllr Guy Woodham, Cabinet Member for Education and the Welsh Language, said Pembrokeshire County Council were delighted to support the policy.

“Families are facing difficult times with the increasing everyday costs of living, so free, nutritious school meals for our youngest learners are great news,” he said. “No child should come to school hungry or be hungry during the day.

“We’d like to encourage parents of children in full-time nursery, reception and years 1 and 2 in primary schools to take advantage of this fantastic scheme from Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.”

Ysgol Bro Preseli Headteacher Mrs Rhonwen Morris said: “As a school we aim to provide all learners with the same opportunity to thrive. We nurture learners from a young age; academically, socially and physically.

“We welcome such a progressive scheme ensuring that learners are provided with a nutritious balanced diet that will support all aspects of their education, progress and wellbeing.

“We look forward to seeing this scheme being extend to all primary school learners over the next three years thus ensuring equity for all in primary education.”

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Education

Blue Gem Wind support Pembrokeshire College with new BTEC Engineering Course

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BLUE Gem Wind are supporting Pembrokeshire College with a BTEC Engineering course aimed at providing a pathway to renewables for 14-16 year-olds. The new course, which begins in September, will be delivered in partnership with other local renewable energy companies and is supported by the Skills and Talent strand of the Swansea Bay City Deal.   

Mike Scott, Project Managing Director at Blue Gem Wind, explained. “The offshore wind sector around the UK is progressing at a pace that is already seeing skills shortages, particularly in engineering roles. As we continue to develop Wales’ first floating wind project it is crucial that we play a meaningful role in supporting Pembrokeshire’s future generations to get ready for a career in floating offshore wind.”

David Jones, Stakeholder Manager, added, “We are looking forward to working in collaboration with the college and other local renewable energy companies to deliver this exciting new course. This focus on 14-16 year-olds will complement our primary school STEM related programme.”

Hayley Williams, Curriculum Development Manager at Pembrokeshire College, said. “Pembrokeshire College is very excited to offer this unique collaborative programme to learners from Milford Haven School and Ysgol Harri Tudur. Blue Gem Wind will bring real life examples of floating wind engineering challenges for the pupils to consider, and the type of job roles and thinking needed to solve them. Enthusing young people about the emergence of new career pathways will help future-proof a skilled workforce for the renewable energy sector in Pembrokeshire.

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Education

Universal Primary Free School Meals roll out will commence in September 2022

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FROM September, schools in Pembrokeshire will roll out Free School Meals to children in:

  • full time nursery
  • reception
  • and years 1 and 2 pupils in primary schools

The Universal Primary Free School Meals policy is part of the Cooperation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, which will see free school meals extended to all primary school learners over the next three years.

You can find out more here: https://gov.wales/find-out-about-free-school-meals

Please also see more information here, including FAQs: www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/school-meals/primary-schools-menu

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