Six in ten teens inspired by careers in TV shows

New research showed 62% of teens in London are inspired by careers they see portrayed in their favourite TV shows yesterday.

The Great British Bake Off, Grey’s Anatomy and Stranger Things top the list of shows that those aged 14-19 years old find inspiring career-wise.

This comes as 80% of Gen Z and 39% of millennials are estimated to have been inspired by TV shows.

Young MasterChef judge and Michelin-trained chef, Poppy O’Toole, said: “I love the idea that my story, and involvement in shows such as Young MasterChef, might inspire others to explore careers they may have otherwise thought were off the table for them.

“I wish I knew about the many different routes available to me when I was younger.

“After receiving a D in my food technology A level, I almost gave up on my dream of being a chef. 

“It just goes to show the importance of finding the best option for you and exploring some of the less traditional routes to getting the skills you need.”

Over 52% of parents admitted to putting off bigger life conversations with their teen if the moment wasn’t right and 30% claim to take the opportunity while watching TV together.

The Department for Education’s Skills for Life campaign is encouraging parents and teens to  take this inspiration and talk about prospects, including technical pathways like T Levels, apprenticeships and Higher Technical Qualifications

Zoe Dimitri, 18, a former digital T Level student and now apprentice at Lloyds, was inspired by the smart and funny female characters in NCIS and CSI Cyber to go into forensics and tech.

She said: “T Levels offered a unique and practical way of learning, combining both classroom education and on the job experience. My industry placement helped me discover a new side to myself – more confident, persistent and social.”

“I’d encourage young people to think outside the box when it comes to their next steps, taking inspiration from everywhere, including their favourite TV shows, and considering whether they could imagine doing a job like that.

“There are so many pathways to take now, such as T Levels and apprenticeships, and they might be just the routes for you.” 

As many as 1 in 3 teenagers surveyed in London wish their parents would broach the subject of education, training and work choices more than they do. 

However, whilst watching shows like these may create the perfect setting, the research identified an additional barrier for parents. 

In the survey, 37% of parents felt they do not know enough to start a useful discussion about such a topic, with two thirds claiming they would like to understand more about the routes available. 

Addressing this point, careers adviser Hannah Grabham from National Careers Service said: “Parents are not expected to have all the answers.

“What’s important is to be open to exploring all routes, even unfamiliar ones, to find the best route for their child.”

She went on to recommend visiting the Get the Jump webpage, which offers resources for exploring alternative formation options, or speaking with a National Careers Service adviser free of charge.

Top 10 TV shows and associated careers that inspire teens’ career choices:

  1. The Great British Bake Off: Food industry/chef (20%) 
  1. Grey’s Anatomy: Medicine and Healthcare (18%) 
  1. MasterChef: Chef (18%) 
  1. The Big Bang Theory: Scientist (17%) 
  1. Stranger Things: Investigative Journalist (16%) + Police Officer (14%) 
  1. Suits: Law (14%) 
  1. Life on our Planet: Environmental sciences / working with animals (13%) 
  1. Glow Up: Makeup Artist (13%) 
  1. The Repair Shop: Maintenance/Repair Work/Engineering (12%) 
  1. The Last of Us: Healthcare (12%) 

Image credit: Skills for Life

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