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Childhood Aspirations May Be Key

September 14 2006 - Children in the UK dream of becoming a teacher, footballer or police officer, according to new research for Jobcentre Plus, part of the Department for Work and Pensions. The poll of 397 children aged 5-11, conducted by LVQ Research revealed that boys are most likely to aspire to sporting careers or working for emergency services and girls to caring or nurturing professions. One in ten boys (10 per cent) dream of being a footballer and 7 per cent a police officer or fireman; while 13 per cent of girls would like to become a teacher and 9 per cent a nurse.

Overall the ten most popular jobs children wanted to do when they grew up were:

  • teacher (8 per cent)
  • footballer (6 per cent)
  • police officer (5 per cent)
  • vet (5 per cent)
  • fireman (5 per cent)
  • hairdresser (4 per cent)
  • nurse (4 per cent)
  • dancer (3 per cent)
  • doctor (2 per cent)
  • driver (2 per cent)

Jobcentre Plus adviser, Jenni Vardy said:

"Many of us have childhood dreams of what we want to be when we grow up, often related to our interests, hobbies or natural skills. However, as we reach adulthood these aspirations often get forgotten or appear unattainable. When looking for work it is often worth considering hobbies and interests, as we are more likely to be good at something which we enjoy and which comes naturally. And there are often lots of opportunities which can incorporate hobbies or interests."

Jobcentre Plus, part of the Department for Work and Pensions, incorporates employment and benefit services for people of working age in around 1000 locations and works with over 275 000 employers to place 17 000 people in work each week. Over 400 000 vacancies are listed weekly on its website and more than 4 million job search requests are received, making it the number one UK recruitment website. It is a key element in the government's objectives to help people based on 'Work for those who can, support for those who cannot'.

Jobcentre Plus provides personal advisers to provide practical support and advice to help those in need find and keep work, including training provision and benefits guidance. Specialist advisers support people in particularly difficult circumstances, for example lone parents or those who have left work because of ill-health or disability. Advisers can enable people to take a fresh look at how childhood dreams could become reality, by helping them assess their interests and look at relevant job opportunities.

Jobcentre Plus helped Ruth Jordan, aged 62, turn her love of cross-stitching and decoupage into a successful business.

Ruth Jordan said:

"When my arthritic condition worsened, I took up cross-stitching and decoupage as a hobby. Then I started to make greeting cards, which were very popular locally. My daughter, Catherine, suggested I could develop my interest into a small business, and that's when I contacted personal adviser, Ivan Wright, at Broker North East, part of Jobcentre Plus, who helped me turn my hobby into a really successful business."

According to Jenni Vardy, someone thinking of turning their hobby into a job should consider the following factors:

  • Does a job already exist which involves your hobby or would it require you to start your own business?
  • Does the job or career sector you are thinking of require specific qualifications?
  • If you don't have a specific hobby, think about what you enjoy doing in your spare time. Do you enjoy being around people or do you prefer spending time alone?
  • Talk your thoughts through with a friend or an adviser to sound out different ideas and work out how a new job would fit in with your life and best suit your requirements.

Jenni Vardy continued:

"If football is your passion, coaching training courses can be available at local football clubs, in particular for jobseekers aged 18-24, or opportunities working as a groundsperson or in hospitality at a football club. If you're interested in getting into teaching, one way might be to offer to help out at your children's school or look into becoming a classroom assistant, which can lead to a qualification. Those who aspire to be vets could start by trying voluntary work at their local RSPCA or animal sanctuary to see what it's like before looking for a job working with animals. Jobs could range from an administrator at a veterinary surgery to being a stablehand. There are lots of different options available; it's just a question of thinking laterally around where your interests lie."



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