Nation’s youngsters have clear career hopes

Feb. 25, 2008 – The UK’s parents and their five-year-old children have significant career ambitions, according to recent research from The Children’s Mutual. Doctor came out on top when parents were asked what they wanted their five-year-olds to be when they grew up, and it was also the top career choice for their children[1].  The figures also showed that children from lower socio-economic groups were slightly more likely to want to be doctors.
The research also revealed that parents have raised their aspirations for their children – when they were five years old most parents dreamed about becoming a nurse one day.
Despite living in an increasingly populist culture surrounded by celebrity news stories and reality-based television shows, the UK’s youngsters actually favour more traditional professions, with fireman/firewoman; teacher; vet and police officer making up their top five career choices.
While most parents just want their child to be happy or do whatever they want when they grow up, many do dream of traditional professions for their offspring. Along with doctor, teacher, lawyer, vet and nurse make up the top five career aspirations parents have for their children.
Research showed that most five-year-old boys want to be a fireman when they grow up, while girls want to be teachers, however coming in high on the list for girls, at number three, was being a princess.
Super hero came in at number five for boys, and being a singer/popstar crept in at number nine for girls but was down at number 18 for boys. The high profile success of Lewis Hamilton has clearly had some influence, with Formula One driver featuring at number 12 on the list for boys.
The rise of budget airlines and the record number of Brits travelling[2] abroad appears to have taken the glamour out of the industry for today’s five-year-olds. Airline pilot came in at number 16 for boys, but air steward/stewardess didn’t feature for boys or girls.
David White, Chief Executive of The Children’s Mutual, said: "It’s great to see that the UK’s youngsters and their parents have high hopes for their futures but many of the top five career choices for both require a significant amount of investment – and not just time and study.
"The average cost of a three-year degree course today is around £38,000[3], taking account of tuition fees, accommodation, equipment, clothing, travel and books, while the cost of training to be a doctor is a staggering £68,300[4]! If the UK’s parents are serious about their children becoming the next generation of doctors, lawyers and vets, they need to be aware of the financial implications.
"By saving regularly, over the long term, families could help their children pursue their chosen careers.  The Child Trust Fund has been designed to have an end goal in mind and for many families this will be helping their child towards their chosen job or career. Anyone can save for the child and it is when families club together that it can make a real difference to the end amount.
"With the finances sorted, families can concentrate on the important task of raising their children to be the next generation of doctors, lawyers, vets and nurses."
The Children’s Mutual has teamed up with parenting skills expert Dr Pat Spungin, from, to put together some top tips to help parents and children succeed in turning their career dreams into a reality.
   1. When they are young, develop a positive attitude to learning by encouraging your child’s curiosity about the world.
   2. With pre-school children, encourage active play, read to them and give them toys and games that encourage their creativity and imagination.
   3. Limit the amount of screen viewing in favour of more active activities, which stimulate the child’s imagination and build their inner resources.
   4. Always answer your child’s questions if you can. If you don’t know the answer, you and your child can look for the answer in books or on the internet.
   5. Education is the key to getting a good job, so always support and work with the school to help your child realise their potential.
   6. Show an interest in what your child is learning at school and praise their achievements.
   7. As your child gets older make sure they have the correct information about their potential career choices, so that they make the right decisions about school subjects at 16 and 18.
   8. Children’s career choices may change over time, don’t pressure your child into following a career path that you want but they are not fully committed to.
   9. Don’t put pressure on your child to succeed academically beyond their abilities. There are many ways to succeed in life other than by getting top marks for all subjects. Identify your child’s particular abilities and look for career choices that match their unique talents.
  10. Motivation and determination are important in achieving career goals. Encourage your children to persevere with things they start and praise their achievements when they overcome difficulties.

[1] A representative sample of 1200 parents was interviewed in October 2007. Approximately one in 10 parents from all socio-economic backgrounds wants their children to be doctors. [2]
[3] Based on the National Union of Students estimate of the average expenditure for the academic year 2006/2007 of £12,619 including tuition fees of £3,000, adjusted for inflation at an assumed rate of 2.5% a year for each of the second and third years of the course. This amount applies to students resident in England and Wales who are studying outside London. Welsh students may be eligible for a grant (July 05). [4] The calculation assumes the new tuition fee levels (£3,000 for 2006/7 and £3,070 for 2007/8), includes the cost of living while studying and the additional costs that students studying to be a doctor face, such as equipment, uniform/work clothing and training trips, according to desk research conducted by The Children’s Mutual.

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Title:           Nation’s youngsters have clear career hopes
Re:   The Children’s Mutual
Date:   25/02/2008

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