The Education and Employers Taskforce this week released a report looking at career preferences of students aged 13-18. What raised some eyebrows from speech and language therapists, was that from the survey of students aged 13-16, speech and language therapy was in the ten least preferred careers.
So, what does this mean for the profession? Is this a concern for current therapists?
A couple of factors need to be considered. The format of the study was to present students 69 job titles and ask them to “please click on your favourite three jobs from the list below”. In the study, career preferences were seen to change over time. The single most popular job among teenagers aged 13 to 14 is actor/actress. By the age of 17-18, this preference has fallen out of the top 10 of occupational choices to number 11. A welcome change is that the results from students aged 17-18 was that speech and language therapy rose out of the bottom ten (albeit still in the bottom twenty).
The report’s authors outline concerns on the aspirations of students not matching the projected labour demands. They also highlighted a recent study which indicated that young people particularly value information on jobs and careers if obtained in a real workplace and through contacts with working people. Through such experience young people can be better prepared to make the education and training decisions that will shape their future career paths. (Heseltine, 2012).
So what does this mean for therapists?
Most ASLTIP members would agree that it is important to continue to raise awareness of speech and language therapy as a profession. Members frequently speak at local schools or have interested students come along for a chat or to observe therapy sessions.
Perhaps it is necessary to challenge stereotypes about speech and language therapy, by highlighting that therapists work across a broad range of settings and in such varied clinical areas – from neonatal feeding to palliative care; from working with actors on voice to students struggling with stammering.
The report concludes 2data presented here suggests strongly that the youth labour market is not working efficiently, that employer signalling of opportunities is not being received effectively by young people and that the need to address such information gaps is pressing.”
To read the report in full: http://www.educationandemployers.org/media/18037/nothing_in_common_final.pdf
ASLTIP’s membership has been growing rapidly since 1989. We are a support organisation run by our members. The executive board is always grateful for new members and new ideas.Apply for a membership