Teenagers’ career ambitions do not reflect the job opportunities out in the real world, members of a business project are warning.

The majority of young people in Yorkshire and the Humber hope to go into careers such as teaching, nursing or the military, despite the public sector only accounting for about a third of jobs locally. Now business project E3 Bradford is calling on local companies to throw open their doors so young people can find out more about them.

The project is led by Paul Mackie, chairman of construction consultancy Rex Procter and Partners, and vice-president of Bradford Chamber.

He said: “The north of England faces a very significant employment problem. We need to focus on productivity and skills as we are currently failing to retain sufficient graduates and apprentices. There is a mismatch between skills individuals have and those needed by employers.”

E3 Bradford, supported by Bradford Chamber and Bradford Council, aims to encourage young people to join the business world and contribute to the economic success of the region.

It is holding a Bradford Work Inspiration Week from May 20 to 24, in which firms will be opening their doors to groups of pupils from secondary schools across the Bradford district.

Mr Mackie said a survey conducted by the organisation Young Chamber had discovered a mismatch between young people’s aspirations and the realities of the job market.

Mr Mackie said: “More than 50 per cent want to be teachers, join the military or get into the health and nursing profession. The reality is, in the Bradford district, we have got a high proportion of jobs in manufacturing, food services and the professional and financial services.” So far, firms and organisations such as Barclays Bank, BASF, Beaumont Robinson, Bradford Chamber, Bradford District Care Trust, Buxton Pickles, Evolve, Gordons LLP, Midland Hotel, Rex Procter & Partners, Sainsbury’s, Lahore Cafe Bar, NG Bailey and Watson Buckle Accountants have signed up to take part. But Mr Mackie said he was keen for more small and medium sized businesses to get involved.

The first school to sign up was the Samuel Lister Academy in Cottingley, Bingley. Head teacher Bec Treacher said: “ The week is an excellent way to get businesses and schools working together.” Any businesses willing to open their doors are asked to contact (01274) 354750.