Lord Baker: Teach primary school children about the world of work


Education Editor

Children at primary should be given a far greater insight into the world of work, former Education Secretary Lord (Kenneth) Baker will say this week.

He will call on schools to develop closer links with local employers so children from an early age get a glimpse of the variety of jobs on offer to them

“We must give children and young people a far better understanding of the world of work, starting at an early age,” he will say as one of the themes of a lecture he is due to deliver on Wednesday.

“This is not about choosing a career by the age of seven, 10 or even 13, though some children of that age already have very clear ambitions,” he will say. “It is about opening their eyes to the many careers that they do not see on TV or in their daily lives.”

Too often options in careers like engineering, crucial to the future of the economy, will be kept from them even in careers talks in secondary school.

Speaking to The Independent, he added: “I think all this start a little more in the primary stage. Young children of the age of four and five are very digitally aware - they’re always playing on their iPads and smartphones, and that’s a wonderful thing that we could build on.

“They could benefit from seeing how this digital technology works in the world of work.”

Lord Baker, who is chairman of the Edge Foundation, dedicated to promoting vocational education and putting it on an equal footing of academic qualifications, will also make a plea for an increase in the Government’s programme for setting up University Technical Colleges. They are designed to combine a top-class vocational education with academic learning.

So far 50 have been approved with 17 already opened. The figure will rise to 30 by the end of this year. A further tranche is also expected to be approved later on in the year.

He will warn, though, that the UK faces a 40,000 shortfall in graduates in the so called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) every year, thus failing to fill the job vacancies opening up in the nuclear industry, tunnelling, aerospace and vehicle manufacturing.

Lord Baker will also cite figures showing the percentage of graduates who end up in non-graduate jobs like waiting, bar work, retail jobs in supermarkets or catering. They show that 29 per cent of fine arts graduates and 26.7 per cent of media studies were doing more menial jobs six months after graduating in 2012. Even 9.3 per cent of maths graduates fall into this category.

“There are signs that the graduate premium is shrinking over time,” he will add. The average graduate will earn £1,611,551 through their lifetime while the average construction apprentice will net £1,503,726.

Lord Baker will be putting his thoughts down in a pamphlet being published this week, and making a speech at the City and Guilds Fellowship on Wednesday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Administrator - Buckinghamshire - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine