The head of a Warwickshire-based careers service provider has questioned the education system which he claims is letting down youngsters by over-emphasising the importance of higher education, and not providing adequate impartial and independent advice.

Kufa Matiya of In2Ambition, which is based in Henley-in-Arden, said the nation was failing youngsters who didn’t make it into further education after the age of 16.

Welcoming a new report by the House of Lords social mobility committee, which found that youngsters who did not take A-levels or degrees, where being ‘overlooked and left behind’, Mr Matiya said there was a lack of information about options for students who left school after GCSEs.

“These young people, who are the majority of teenagers in this country, are being failed. It is my experience that the system can leave them disheartened and with a sense of failure. There is such a huge emphasis on getting students into sixth forms and universities, and hardly any interest in those who don’t,” he said.

Whereas only 47 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds studied A-levels last year, 53 per cent did not. Those who didn’t, according to the Lords, were mainly left to drift into further studies or their first job, which often had no real prospect of progression.

“We see this all the time at In2Ambition, youngsters who are desperate to make something of themselves but whose options have been severely limited by a system that focuses too much on the academically able. It can be distressing; they want so much to be a success but have been disheartened by being left behind by their contemporaries. There is so much talent here that is being lost to the nation.”

One of the main recommendations of the Lords is for independent careers advice, like that offered by such organisations as In2Ambition who focus on helping youngsters at schools and colleges find the right career path from an early age, and providing them with the tools to achieve their goals.