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The questions we ask

Connect2Aspire explores new ways of mobilising cultural and creative resources, spaces and networks to support UK’s young people to embark on and pursue confidently career pathways that capitalise on their actual and potential talents and skills, and cultivate attitudes open to lifelong learning. Three questions guide the research, focusing in turns on (1) understanding needs and gaps; (2) scoping opportunities; and (3) envisaging avenues for change.

(1) Young people’s professional choices are not influenced only by the school, but by complex and not always coherent webs of information, interactions and practices online and offline, in local and interest-based communities, and out of school activities. This study asks:

How do young people access and make sense of information to shape their professional aspirations and choose initial career directions?

This question will shed light on aspiration and decision pathways, influencers, as well as needs, gaps and entry points for interventions.

(2) Next, Connect2Aspire will identify ways to meet these needs by capitalising on an opportunity. Recent research indicates that the UK cultural sector is already an important educational actor, and it delivers on those skills and attitudes that are considered essential for work in the future, including creativity, and digital, social and collaboration skills. This project asks further:

How can engagements in the cultural sector be leveraged to support young people in their professional aspirations and choices?

(3) Thirdly, this project will formulate insights and recommendations to answer:

What new structures, connections and cooperation pathways among local educational, community and cultural institutions can support young people to shape and pursue their professional aspirations and choices?

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