To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video
A close-up of Broadcasting Place, City Campus

Childhood Ambitions

Teacher tops jobs poll

More than one in ten adults once wanted to be a teacher, according to a survey by Leeds Beckett.

According to the poll carried out by our University, 12% of adults dreamed of being a teacher, followed by vet (8%), doctor (6%), professional athlete (5%), nurse (4.8%) and scientist (4.8%).

But politics proved a turn-off for those questioned, with fewer than one per cent of adults (0.2%) saying it’s what they dreamed of doing when they were a child.

And being adored by millions also scored low, with only 0.6% of Brits saying they wanted to be a celebrity when they grew up. In fact, more people wanted to become an accountant (1.1%) than wanted to be a celebrity.

The study, carried out in the run up to A level results day this Thursday, also found that nearly a quarter (22.5%) of Brits are now pursuing their childhood career ambition, proving that childhood dreams really do come true. Of those following their chosen path, 38% are teachers, 11% are lawyers and 10% are scientists.

Top childhood ambitions:
1 Teacher 12%
2 Vet 8%
3 Doctor 6%
4 Professional Athlete 5%
5 Nurse 4.8%
6 Scientist 4.8%
7 Writer 4.7%
8 Pilot 4.5%
9 Lawyer 4.5%
10 Police Officer 3.5%
11 Train Driver 3.4%
12 Astronaut 3.1%
13 Dancer 2.1%
14 Singer 1.9%
15 Firefighter 1.6%
16 Accountant 1.1%
17 Paramedic 1.1%
18 Celebrity 0.6%
19 Cowboy 0.6%
20 Dentist 0.5%
21 Toy Shop Owner 0.3%
22 Politician 0.2%

Speaking about the research, Professor Phil Cardew, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), said: “What we want to be when we ‘grow up’ is a big part of childhood conversations. It’s fascinating to see that teacher tops this list; perhaps down to the fact that teaching is something very familiar to children. Equally, vet and doctor are also jobs which are very tangible to children of primary school age.

“What’s also heartening about this study is that over a quarter of people are now pursuing their childhood job ambitions. But for those who haven’t had such a clear vision and are awaiting their place at a university this Thursday, they can be confident that this next step, whether it’s plan A or plan B, will help them define a clear career path with plenty of support and encouragement.”

A nationally representative sample of 620 graduates took part in the survey.