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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 August 2007

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YOUNG people urged not to leave education or training without qualifications by taking control of their lives.  The downfall of reality TV stars Jo O’Meara and Jade Goody has failed to deter young people from seeking reality TV fame, according to new research from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).  11% of young people still say they would drop out of learning to be on reality television and a similar figure to previous 2005 research. And the lure of fame is so great among teenagers that 49% of 16-19 year olds aspire to be a celebrity.According to research from the Learning and Skills Council 16% teens believe it is easy to become a star and only 21% of these fame-seeking youngsters plan to rely on their talent.  Given the chance, 42% of these wannabes would drop out of education or training to become a celebrity and 17% think it’s easy to get a job and be successful without qualifications.  But according to official statistics, leaving education or training without the minimum set of qualifications, such as 5 good GCSEs or a Level 2 diploma, will leave young people with a greater chance of unemployment and earning less than their peers who have these essential qualifications.  It would seem that today’s teens have unrealistic expectations and lottery-style programmes such as Big Brother and the X Factor have contributed to this mentality.

Media coverage of reality TV stars such as Jade Goody (Big Brother) and Lizzy Bardsley (Wife Swap) further exacerbate young people’s desires for celebrity status, with more than 170 column inches, the equivalent of over a page, in every national newspaper dedicated to these stars in 1 weekend.   12% of 16 year olds have fallen in to this lottery mentality and believe they will actually win the jackpot, despite the odds of this happening being 1 in 13 million.  Further to this, 17% of teenage boys think their success will be down to luck and 10% of teenage girls plan on marrying someone rich to fund their superstar lifestyles.

Julia Dowd, Director of Young People’s Learning at the LSC, said:- “It’s surprising that so many youngsters still want to be a part of the fickle world of fame. The downfall of such high profile celebrities such as Jade Goody and Jo O’Meara should serve as a warning that fame and fortune can disappear as quickly as it arrives and you will always need qualifications and skills to fall back on.  Reality TV can be tempting for young people but often this success is short-lived and that’s why it is imperative for all young people to take control of their future by gaining essential qualifications, such as 5 GCSEs (A*-C) or the vocational equivalent such as a Level 2 diploma and realise that their future really is in their hands.”


HAPPINESS costs us over £496 billion per year, according to research from Abbey Current Accounts.

The average Brit spends £10,801 per year on leisure pursuits including holidays, gadgets, beauty, hobbies and socialising - which equates to around £29 per day.  Interestingly, the average Brit spends more on beauty (£478 per year) than they do on sports and hobbies (£410) but the biggest spending goes on holidays (£3,764), home improvements (£1,783) and eating out and socialising (£1,295)

Activity Average spend per year
Holidays £3,764
Home improvements £1,783
Eating out/ socialising  £1,295
Fashion £1,146
Travel (excl commuting) £1,090
Beauty £478
Gadgets/dvds/ music £466
Sports/hobbies  £410
Cinema/theatre/events/attractions £369
Total spend per year £10,801

The research also shows that we value our leisure time over and above anything else, as most people would have to be paid almost twice the amount they usually earn to give up 1 hour of their leisure time.  

When asked how much people would need to be paid per hour to work on their day off, the average response was £19.21 (this is almost twice the average hourly wage in the UK). 

Interestingly, while most people will not sacrifice leisure time for paid work, 38% - over 9.5 million Britons - have worked on their day off within the last year without extra pay.

Steve Shore, Head of Banking at Abbey, said:- “We have found that happiness in the UK certainly doesn’t come cheap.

With the average Brit spending almost half of their annual wage on pursuits that make them happy, we place a high value on our leisure time."

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