Celebrities have been revealing their childhood dream jobs and pictures of themselves when they were young in support of Guide Dogs’ ‘Every Dream Counts’ campaign.
The most popular dream jobs for children today
Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman, Dame Joanna Lumley and comedian Paul O’Grady are among those who have shared their dream jobs as part of our campaign to help children with a visual impairment realise and achieve their dreams.
Olivia Colman, who revealed she thought she’d be a nurse, said: “When you are little an exciting rite of passage is to dream about what you’ll be when you grow up. It’s great that Guide Dogs is supporting and empowering children with a vision impairment to make their dreams a reality.”
It follows the results of our nationwide survey of parents and children that found the most desired career for modern kids is to be a “YouTuber”. As many as 27 percent cited this as their ideal vocation alongside other “top” jobs including being an influencer (17 percent), professional footballer (16 percent) and professional gamer (15 percent) according to the study of 1,700 children aged seven to 12, and their parents. Zookeeper (14 percent), dancer (ten percent), artist (ten percent) and actor (ten percent) also featured high in the list of modern kids’ dream jobs, according to the study.
The research also polled visually impaired children on their dream careers, with over one in ten (11 percent) citing being a footballer as their dream job. This was closely followed by being a vet (10 percent) and doctor (10 percent). Policeman (6 percent) and scientist (6 percent) ranked in the top five careers for visually impaired children too.
"When you are little an exciting rite of passage is to dream about what you’ll be when you grow up. It’s great that Guide Dogs is supporting and empowering children with a vision impairment to make their dreams a reality."
More role models needed for children with sight loss
Barriers that parents said could get in the way of their visually impaired children’s dreams included the lack of inspiring role models with visual impairments to inspire their child (45 percent), while 43 percent said they just don’t feel the world is inclusive enough for people with visual disabilities.
71 percent feel there aren’t enough people in the public eye with a visual impairment or disability to inspire others, while eight in ten admit that people with disabilities aren’t very visible within society. So it’s no surprise that 69 percent of children who are visually impaired are concerned about their disability holding them back from finding the job of their dreams.
Kerry Kernan, National Operations Manager of CYP (Children & Young People) Services at Guide Dogs, said: “This research reveals what modern kids want to do when they grow up - and it’s a far cry from the dreams of previous generations, who wanted to be train drivers, doctors, explorers and inventors. It’s also brilliant to see that the sky really is the limit for visually impaired children, with the research uncovering some really aspirational, dream careers.”
“At Guide Dogs, we work with blind and visually impaired children, and their families, from the day they are born, to help them live a life without barriers and achieve their dreams. Every year we help hundreds of families build their knowledge and confidence and provide tools that are right for each family’s specific needs – whether that’s through enabling more moments like inclusive reading, or by providing services like habilitation support, education support or grants for parents and children to access new technology.”
What celebrities wanted to be when they grew up
Ainsley Harriott, Chef and TV Presenter
"I wanted to be a tennis player."
Amar Latif, Entrepreneur, TV personality and Professional Traveller
"When I was 10 years old there was a girl in my class who I fancied... she said she wanted to be an accountant when she grew up and I thought accountancy must be 'sexy' so I pursued a career in that. And, although I really enjoyed my job, I felt there was something missing, and that something was travel.”
But when I approached mainstream travel companies, I faced rejection as an independent blind traveller. I realised that if you want something that doesn’t exist, either you do without or you build it yourself. So, I set up the world’s first commercial tour company that takes blind and sighted people on holiday."
"Now I am a travel presenter for the BBC – the blind guy who wants to show you the world"
Ben Miller, Actor and Comedian
I wanted to be an astronaut! One of my earliest memories is watching the moon landings. I even drew a spaceman on the living room wall!
Chris Packham CBE, Naturalist and TV Presenter
"I wanted to be a Thunderbirds pilot!"
Rt Hon Lord Blunkett
"In my early years, I really wanted to be a teacher, I then wanted to be a politician, I then fancied being a poet! I became a teacher, morphed into being a politician, but have only written the occasional poem, so I have some way to go yet!"
Rt Hon Lord Blunkett
David Bradley, Actor
"All I wanted was to play football for York City, like my hero Arthur Bottom."
Deborah Meaden, Businesswoman and TV Personality
"I did dream of being a showjumper, but even as a very small child I knew I wanted to have my own business."
Eamonn Holmes, Broadcaster & Journalist
"From the age of 10 I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. This was borne out of seeing the troubles developing around me and being reported on television. I always had this mission to explain within me."
Gregg Wallace, MasterChef Presenter
"I wanted to join the Royal Navy"
Jess Impiazzi, Actress and Guide Dogs Ambassador
"Acting is all I’ve ever wanted to do"
Dame Joanna Lumley, Actress, Presenter and Author
"I wanted to be Prime Minister, a brain surgeon, a famous explorer and a pirate. But then I discovered that as an actress it was rather easy to be all these things, and a queen, wicked aunt, Tiger Lily, singing cow, ghost and rag doll as well. Hey diddly dee! An actor’s life for me!"
Dame Joanna Lumley
Jon Culshaw, Actor and Comedian
"I was fascinated with astronomy. Science fiction that was science fact, that you could do in your back garden. And the characters explaining it were so memorable, Patrick Moore, Carl Sagan. Like Obi Wan Kenobi on Earth"
Matt Tebutt, Chef and TV Food Presenter
"I did toy with the idea of joining the RAF as a boy, but my real passion has always been food. And this passion started on family holidays to northern France."
Dame Maureen Lipman, Actress and Writer
"I have a school essay which says - aged twelve- that I wanted to be 1) An air hostess. (Eurgh I would be so bad.) 2) A dress designer. (Well, yes, I draw and I enjoy fashion but I can’t actually sew a button on.) 3) An actress, (phew- something I am actually not bad at. It has given me a wonderfully enjoyable career and to my amazement, a Damehood.)"
Dame Maureen Lipman
Michaela Strachan, TV Presenter
"I was one of those 7-12-year-olds who wanted to be a dancer!"
Olivia Colman, Actress
"I thought I’d be a nurse"
Paul O’Grady, Comedian, Broadcaster and Actor
"When I was very young, I wanted to work on the counter of a Dry Cleaners, then I wanted to be a secret agent and if they wouldn’t have me, it was a tossup between becoming a Chemist or working at Chester Zoo"
Paul O’Grady, Comedian, Broadcaster and Actor
Sophie Thompson, Actress
"I wanted a shop just like my Uncle James’ café, that smelled of baking and had the best sweets in jars and a penny tray and soda floats. Then I decided pretending meant I could get to be a whole variety of things …I haven’t played a shopkeeper yet but if I ever get the chance I would try and channel the legendary Ronnie Barker in 'Open All Hours'"
Susie Dent, Lexicographer, Etymologist, and Media Personality
"I had two very different ambitions - one to be a poet, sitting in a remote part of the countryside and composing words, and the other to be a hotel manager, as whenever we were lucky enough to stay in one as a family I never wanted to leave!"
Tom Kerridge, Michelin-starred Chef
"I wanted to be an astronaut or a bear wrestler"
Wendi Peters, Actress and Guide Dogs Ambassador
"Here I am at a dance festival aged 10. Always destined for the stage."
Help children with sight loss realise their dreams and make every day count with a monthly donation to our children and young people’s services
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