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As Children’s Commissioner, it is my privilege to speak to hundreds of thousands of children about their lives, their hopes and dreams for the future. I want children to be ambitious about their futures as well as about their present – and overwhelmingly, they are.

What’s clear is this is an ambitious generation, who want to get on and do well. Their eagerness to work hard is evident, they speak in terms of not just jobs but long-term careers. They consistently tell me they want better support to become successful adults with jobs and careers that fulfil their goals.

The Big Ambition results show that most children and young people feel like they have the same opportunities as their peers. They feel confident in their knowledge about apprenticeships, university options, and career paths and most feel that they have learnt about the skills they will need in later life.

But this isn’t the case for every child, especially those who don’t have the same support network as their friends and peers, or whose daily lives are impacted by the stresses and concerns of their parents. Some children have told me they have not been given the support they need to succeed in adulthood.

Children and young people are desperate to learn about the world of work. They are ambitious and driven by their dream careers and want to be given the support they need to achieve their goals. They want PSHE lessons to be the most exciting and engaging lesson on the curriculum, to equip them with all the skills and knowledge they will need for adulthood. They want greater access to vocational routes and subjects which excite them and lead to brilliant careers.

It is clear from the findings of The Big Ambition that we need to rebalance the education system to focus more on how to better prepare children for adulthood. Responses to The Big Ambition reflect these desires:

“That there should be more in school about futures. Careers and universities, I feel like I don’t know what will happen when I go to a uni and I still am not sure what I want to be.” – Boy, 14.

Teach kids about real life issues like buying a house and applying for a bank card rather than the same PSHE curriculum year after year.” – Boy, 16.

“They should prepare us for when we are older and teach us more about collages and university and life skills at school. And listen to our opinions.” – Girl, 13

It’s fantastic to see this generation of children and young people are keen to get on and work hard, with desires to be more successful than generations before them. In order for them to achieve their goals there needs to be a cradle to career approach to education with a stronger focus on vocational routes, such as apprenticeships and better careers education. By bringing schools and workplaces closer together, we can help children achieve that ambition of a good job or career when they grow up.

That’s why I have set out five overarching outcomes I want for every child in The Big Ambition, namely that they are safe, healthy, happy, learning and engaged in their community. To achieve this within jobs and skills will mean achieving the following ambitions:

You can read all my recommendations for how we can achieve each of these ambitions in The Big Ambition report.

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