Careers advice in schools is getting worse, according to MPs – we asked you lot for some of the worst/weirdest nuggets of wisdom you’d been given from these often hit-and-miss services. The results ranged from bizarre to baffling… 

“I did a Connexions survey and it told me I should be a prison warden. Admittedly I look great in navy polyster.” 

Nell, assistant editor 

“To go to Loughborough and study Sports Science. Not to stereotype or anything, but I’m a gay man with extremely poor hand-eye coordination. We then did a test and it said I should be a fireman – see the latter aforementioned reason as to why this would be a bad idea.”

Rupert, industry manager

“Apropos of nothing, my careers advisor suggested I work for Virgin Atlantic because it was full of young, attractive ladies. Great advice, thanks for that.” 

Alice, primary school teacher

“I was told there was no money in journalism, so I should open a bakery instead. This was mainly based on the fact I occasionally baked cakes for friends at Uni. I wasn’t sure whether this was a reflection of how good my baking was… or how bad my writing was!”

Natalie, journalist

“We did a quiz to find out what kind of career we might be suited to and then were shown our school “careers library” – one bookshelf. This from one of the best state secondary schools in the country…”


“I was told you don’t have to have a maths A-level to study Economics at uni. While technically true, this was terrible advice; if you don’t like maths you should never do an Economics degree! Thankfully I changed to Maths at the last minute- otherwise I would have struggled with the degree and not have been able to do the Phd I’m working on!” 

Dave, Economics PhD student

“The job centre was once really pushing for me to become a tree surgeon, even though my only qualifications were a Sociology degree and an NCTJ course and I’ve always avoided climbing trees on account of my massive clumsiness.”

Eric, editor 

“Mine said: “God knows i had dreams. everyone has dreams. give up now cause chances are you won’t get there.” She decided I’d be better off sitting behind a counter at a supermarket than even trying. I’ll be damned if im giving up… don’t ever tell me I can’t do something because it’ll only make me try harder!”


“Apparently there was no point looking into being a bridge builder/civil engineer as it’s a male dominated industry! Pah. I did look into it and ended up studying Physics which was just as male dominated. It probably made me more determined to overcome any gender discrimination or imbalance.”

Kerry, works in corporate responsibility 

“I got told to be a book binder, and my school told me not to bother going to an arts university. I then went to an arts university and got a first – so glad I didn’t do a more “useful” degree!” 

Olivia, photographer/picture editor

“I think they said anything I came up with was unrealistic. I remember saying I wanted to go to art school and being told that wasn’t a great idea from a career perspective. I felt very much like a square peg in a round hole and I felt a bit like, as a result, no great effort was made to find a way to help me. ”

Jamie, artist 

“Would I consider makeup artistry, because I wore eyeliner.” 


“I got told in high school by both teachers and pupils that i would fail and never get into Kerrang magazine. At college I was told to think of a better career path because the one i chose (journalism) didn’t seem like a good one. 3-5 years later i’m in good contact with the Kerrang editor, the Bauer receptionist knows my name and says good morning whenever I drop in. Follow your heart and do what you think is right, have faith and trust in your instincts. With skill, determination and a bit of savvy, you will get where you want to go!”



Oh dear. If these anecdotes are anything to go by, it’s high time the government put a bit of effort into Careers Advice in schools.   Thankfully, they aren’t the only places you can get inspiration for higher education and careers- check out our handy list of resources (apart from our own, of course…): 

1. The National Careers Service have some great resources for more vocational professions

2. The Big Choice offer advice on courses, higher education study, careers and part-time jobs to see you through uni. It’s a goldmine!

3. Interested in the arts? Check out IdeasTap for a range of features, how-tos and creative job opportunities  

4. Don’t want to go the university route? BIGDOG is a fairly new site aimed at providing careers advice for 14-24 year olds. 

5. Fancy going down the university/further education route? UCAS have some top advice for how to proceed…