Schoolchildren are turning to television programmes for careers guidance because large numbers of schools are failing to provide decent advice, according to research.
A third of schoolchildren are looking to TV for inspiration about careers after leaving full-time education, it emerged.
It was claimed that the move risked having a “distorting effect” on children’s ideas of the job market and risked resulting in many pupils missing out on the ideal job.
The disclosure – in a study by the publisher Pearson – comes after the Government introduced new rules giving schools a legal duty to provide impartial careers guidance.
Previously, the responsibility lay with local councils and was primarily delivered through the Connexions service.
But the latest study found that only a third of teachers – 34 per cent – were confident that their school was actually offering proper guidance.It was claimed that the lack of support in many schools forced pupils to look elsewhere for inspiration when looking for a careers path.
Some 70 per cent of schoolchildren still said they turned to teachers for advice, but 82 per cent cited parents, 45 per cent named friends, 37 per cent looked to television programmes and 30 per cent searched on jobs websites.
A further eight per cent of pupils cited “celebrities” as a source of information about careers.
Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK, said: “The quality and availability of careers advice has a huge impact on the choices young people make about their futures, so it can’t afford to be anything less than excellent.
“Television inspires and informs, but the expectations it creates can't always reflect the opportunities available in the real world.”
He added: “With so few teachers confident their pupils are receiving the basic careers advice they need, more effort needs to be put into using technology and connecting with resources and people outside the school gates.”
Nick Chambers, director of the Education and Employers Taskforce, added: “As this survey shows too many young people have to rely on TV and media for their ideas about careers.
“This has a distorting effect on young peoples’ understanding of what jobs are really like and the career options open to them.”
The study was based on two separate surveys – one of 800 teachers and another of around 300 children aged 11 to 15.
Schools have been directly responsible for careers advice since 2011 under changes made by the Coalition.
But only 14 per cent of teachers thought schools had enough money to deliver the duty, it emerged.
A DfE spokeswoman said: “Effective careers guidance has a strong focus on making connections with employers who can open young people’s eyes to a broad range of careers, motivating them to fulfil their potential.
"We are asking schools to deliver this by securing independent and impartial careers guidance, replacing the previous system which was patchy, costly and often of poor quality. Ofsted have said that they will give priority to the inspection of careers guidance from September.”