Whats at stake?

What are you going to study? What career do you want? What path are you going to follow to get there? Young people have probably heard such questions as they plan for their future.

Globalisation and automation have meant that the jobs market is changing faster than before.

Education and career orientation programmes are struggling to keep up with these sweeping changes – and now the COVID-19 crisis is making it more challenging than ever to know how to plan ahead.

If you are 15, you may say that you want to become a doctor, a teacher, a police officer, a mechanic or any one of a handful of other traditional jobs – but are you aware of the many options available to you?

While education is about more than just career preparation, what are the skills that will help you to find and keep a job, now and in the future?

How can you develop skills for roles that don’t exist yet?

Why getting the right skills matters

To bridge the gap between school and work, it is important that young people gain hands-on experience of the world of work, whether that’s through a part-time job, an internship, volunteering, a work experience placement or a vocational programme (mixing training and work).

Learning in Progress video with Anthony Mann

A good general education means you can adapt to all the surprises
that may come your way during your career.

Thierry, retired teacher, Lyon, France

But OECD data show that today, in many countries, it’s likely that less than half of 15-year-olds have spoken to a career counsellor in school, visited a job fair or done an internship. And nearly 75% of young people say they would like or would have liked more support from their schools in finding a job. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are also less likely to take part in most career development activities than are advantaged students.

Why it matters to my generation

Not all young people have equal access to the same opportunities, resources and networks.

In many countries, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to take part in career development activities in school, while the jobs they expect to have one day are at greater risk of automation, meaning there is a higher chance that they might end up out of work.

Internships can change the course of lives – but not everyone has the same access to them.

As many of you already know, inequalities like these have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

School and university closures have affected about 1.6 billion students worldwide, but along with their teachers, they have adapted to remote learning in these extreme circumstances. That said, disadvantaged schools and students are less likely to have the IT training and technology needed to do this successfully.

To ensure that everyone has the same opportunities, it is also important that we understand how gender still affects career expectations, choices and progression.

What can countries do?

The disruptions caused by
the coronavirus crisis have been
serious and severe. But the pandemic’s
impact on education is also a chance
for reflection and innovation.

Schooling Disrupted webinar

It is a chance for us to make more opportunities available to more people, by rethinking teaching and learning.

It is a chance for us to reconsider the paths we take from school into work.

And it is a chance for us to reflect on how we can benefit from continuing to learn throughout our working lives and beyond.

We need governments to :

Strengthen career guidance provisions and opportunities to explore the world of work, especially for those who are least likely to have strong family support as they choose their paths.

Learn from each other and from the private sector and non-governmental organisations, by sharing challenges and successes in how they are preparing for the future of learning and the future of work.

Listen to young people’s concerns about education and work.

Margot video from Villeurbanne roadshow

So far, we’ve told you what we know at the OECD.

But what about you?

What has helped
you to figure out
your future (or not)?
What is missing
that could help
How has the
pandemic changed
your plans?

We want to hear what you think!

Share your views on social media

Whats at stake?
Why it matters to my generation
What can countries do?