The young scorn political jobs

Who wants to be a politician? Hardly anyone, according to a survey of young people published yesterday.

The least popular job of all is Tony Blair's, says the survey of 1,200 teenagers and their parents conducted by MORI for City and Guilds, the vocational awards body. Instead, young men want to be Andy Cole, the footballer, or Richard Branson, the entrepreneur. Young women want to be Anita Roddick, the Body Shop founder, or Naomi Campbell, the model.

Most parents hope their children will not become MPs but are even more opposed to them becoming police officers or insurance sales people.

Teenagers and their parents agree that nurses, doctors, nursery nurses and teachers have desirable jobs. A league table of the most popular jobs with teenagers puts health-care and teaching at the top, followed by skilled manual work, and politics and the Church at the bottom. Law, journalism and accountancy come in the middle.

Parents and their children have similar views about the best jobs but, while nearly one quarter of parents would like famous children, their offspring are more interested in money. One in three say they do not mind which job they have as long as it is well-paid.

Young people were asked to choose from a list of well-known personalities the job they would most like. For girls, Virginia Bottomley came bottom with 4 per cent, while for boys, Tony Blair had 3 per cent, just behind Andy Peters, the television personality (4 per cent), and Hugh Grant, the actor (5 per cent).

Girls are more optimistic than boys about getting an interesting job and more ambitious. They are also keener to go on to higher education.

However, only half the young men surveyed were convinced that jobs were as important for women as they were for men.

Girls still expect to be nursery nurses, teachers and secretaries, while boys expect to be builders, car mechanics or computer programmers.

The influence of parents over their children's careers is decreasing. Teenagers are more influenced by careers information and work experience and most are firmly opposed to following in their parents' footsteps. Yet parents' ambitions when they were young were remarkably similar to their children's although engineering, the second choice for fathers, has slumped in popularity.

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