Secretary-turned author J.K. Rowling, has topped a poll to identify the most inspiring living Britons; followed closely by astronaut Tim Peake. The list, which was dominated by people who have famously made big career changes also includes Victoria Pendleton, who has hit her stride after swapping her bicycle for a racehorse, in third place.
Victoria was followed by fellow ex-Olympian, Eddie the Eagle (who is back in the spotlight thanks to a major Hollywood film) in fourth. In joint fifth place were chef-turned-political campaigner Jamie Oliver and serial entrepreneur and businesswoman, Karen Brady, whose influence spans from the boardroom to the football pitch.
The poll looking into the inspirations and ambitions of the British public, was carried out to launch the 2016 Festival of Learning - an initiative from Learning & Work Institute to get Britons to take part in learning. The campaign, which is supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), encourages and celebrates lifelong learning and the impact it can have on personal and professional development.
Stephen Evans, Deputy Chief Executive from Learning and Work Institute, commented on the results:
“It’s great that so many people polled are inspired to learn to try new things or work toward their dream job. But we also know that too many people miss out on the life changing opportunities that learning brings.
“Learning isn’t just something that happens in a classroom, and it shouldn’t stop when you leave school.”
Of the 2,000 adults interviewed, 36 per cent said that watching high-profile Brits succeed in new careers had spurred them on to go and try their hand at something they’ve never done before but always wanted to.
British adults still hold onto childhood ambitions, with 76 per cent of them not giving up on doing their dream job. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) have switched careers and 29 per cent have recently taken part in learning.
However 67 per cent of Brits polled feel they lack the skills or qualifications to achieve their career goals - a statistic being challenged by Learning And Work Institute programmes.
The Festival of Learning replaces Adult Learners’ Week and aims to promote and celebrate adult learning in the UK.
The top childhood dream careers voted for by Britons were:
8. Prime Minister
10. Sports (various)