Almost half of school leavers do not feel prepared for working life, a study has found.
As many prepare to leave education and enter the world of work, research found 61 per cent are nervous about picking the right career path.
But 57 per cent of the 750 18-24 year-olds polled have never considered taking part in an apprenticeship.
And while 46 per cent feel attending university is an essential part of getting their dream job, 42 per cent believe life skills – rather than academics – are more crucial.
The study, by free careers education service SPRINGPOD, also found that of those who attended university, one in six said their course did not correlate to the career they wish to pursue.
A third even said they would now reconsider their choice of degree.
When it comes to preferred careers, Britain is set for a boom in scientists – after that came out as the top choice for young jobseekers.
Treading the boards as an actor came second, followed by teaching, in third.
Despite the ‘Love Island’ effect, just four per cent of 18-to-24 year-olds consider ‘social media influencer’ as the profession for them.
However, their career choice inspiration comes through social media – with a third saying it’s their core source of job inspiration.
This beats parents’ influence, with just one in four saying they get career inspiration from their mum and dad.
In order to help navigate this tricky life-stage, SPRINGPOD has launched Learn Lounge, an online community showcasing a wide-range of career paths from some of the leading lights in each industry, to help the next generation of workers find the right career path for them.
The free initiative has lined-up online talks from a diverse pool of careers, including ex-England cricket legend Monty Panesar, polar explorer Ann Daniels and the Guinness World Record-holding inventor Richard Browning.
Oliver Fisher, co-founder of SPRINGPOD said: “There’s a dizzying array of routes into the perfect job, but navigating this can be an arduous task.
“We want to redefine career advice to help 13-to-24 year-olds find the right way to the right career.
“It’s incredible to see the influence on STEM education, leading to scientist being named the number one profession for the next generation.
“And despite the boomer generation being concerned that everyone under 25 wants to be a social media star, just four per cent said they would consider this a career.”
The study also found one in four of the 18-24 year-olds polled felt pressured to follow in the family footsteps and carry on in the same career as their parents.
And despite some youngsters being steadfast in their career aspirations, many found contacts, geography, and debt among the barriers to getting them the job.
A fifth also said they feel like a lack of real-life connections in their chosen industry will hinder their chances, while one in six said living in the ‘wrong’ place could scupper them.
The same number also felt like there were not enough opportunities to get into the business.
But just two per cent see social class as a potential barrier.
The study, carried out via OnePoll also revealed a money-savvy one in 10 is concerned about accruing student debt in order to get the job they want.
And when it comes to earnings, one in five expects a starting salary of £20,000, while an ambitious one per cent hope to earn at least £100,000.
The former Secretary of State for Education and Science, and patron of SPRINGPOD, Lord Baker said: “I have seen first-hand the impact that employers and influential role models can have on young people’s career trajectories by engaging with them at an early age.
“Inspirational career stories are hugely beneficial in helping them understand real-world challenges and how to overcome them to attain success.
“Showcasing different career paths also help young people understand the wide choice of roles available out there.”
For more information on the free lessons and a full line-up of speakers visit: www.springpod.co.uk/learn-lounge/