Young people’s and parents’ views of vocational education and careers guidance

Project overview and approach

CSD commissioned Chrysalis Research to conduct research into young people’s and parents’ views of vocational education, and the role of information, advice and guidance (IAG) on influencing education and career choices.

The research explored themes identified during an earlier, exploratory study by CSD and Nottingham Trent University of young people’s experience of vocational education.

Our research involved an online survey of 1,620 young people aged between 15 and 19, and 1,693 parents of children in this age group. Within this sample, 1,231 young people and their parents completed a paired questionnaire, whereby the parent completed the first half of the survey before the child completed the rest. This approach enabled us to directly compare the responses of parents and their children, and to assess the impact of parents’ perceptions and circumstances on their children’s views and experiences.

The young people were classified as following vocational qualifications routes or general qualifications routes, based on their current or previous studies.

Following the quantitative research, we conducted online qualitative discussion groups with two groups of survey participants: four young people following vocational courses and seven working towards general qualifications. The groups provided greater insight into young people’s perceptions of the different qualifications pathways and the reasons behind their choices.

Key recommendations (click on links)


(On parents) Not so good at advising on careers because they always focus on the salary of what you want to do but good at advising on what to do when I go to uni, like whether to stay at home or not.


Female, aged 17, vocational qualifications route

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Project date:

September 2011