Parents hold children back

The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph

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TWO-in-three parents in Portsmouth lack knowledge to encourage their children into skilled careers, new research reveals.

Medicine, science and engineering have topped a poll of the careers parents in Portsmouth dream their sons and daughters will follow.

But almost two thirds of them hold back from encouraging their children to consider these careers because of their own lack of knowledge in the fields, according to The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, who surveyed 3,000 parents of four to 17 year olds.

Moreover, a third of parents say they have no idea about the jobs available in these areas, and more than a tenth find science and engineering too difficult to understand.

A further one-in-ten parents label scientists and engineers as ‘geeks’ and eight per cent would prefer their children followed the TV talent route, attracted by the instant fame and bright lights of X Factor.

Professor Brian Cox, supporter of The Big Bang, said: ‘With science and engineering ranking so highly on parents “most wanted” careers list, it is clear that parents in Portsmouth have high hopes for their children.

‘But the research suggests they need to feel more equipped to help their kids make career decisions. Without this encouragement from parents, we could see the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills gap widen which poses a risk to our country’s competitive edge.’