- 72% of year 13 students are planning on going to university after finishing school yet almost half (44%) do not believe a degree will equip them for the world of work
- With record unconditional offers, almost a third (30%) believe it’s easier to get into university than 10 years ago citing reasons such as degrees being less valuable (39%) and universities needing the funding (30% )
- Just under half (46%) say that there isn’t enough career advice available when it comes to making important decisions post A-levels
With A-Level results day almost upon us, thousands of students have been busy thinking about their next move. New research released today has found that around three quarters (72%) of school leavers across the UK are planning on going to University when they finish school, more than those planning on getting a job (10%), doing an apprenticeship (5%), or taking a gap year (4%).
However, despite the enduring popularity of university, 44% do not believe a degree will equip them for a job, admitting it will only delay entry into the world of work (8%). In fact, one in five (20%) believe that 2-3 years of work experience would better prepare them for their career. 13% of degree hopefuls also reveal their A-Level subjects do not even match their degree.
With more unconditional offers to universities than ever before, and some universities set to go bust, it’s perhaps no surprise that 30% believe it’s easier to get into universities now than ten years ago. When asked why, students said it was due to the institutions needing more funding (30%), degrees becoming less valuable (39%) and universities worryingly offering more unconditional offers to increase student numbers pre-results day (53%).
These concerns echo those raised in the media in recently months, looking at a possible collapse of the university system as we know it today due to financial pressures.
With these perceived problems in mind, why are students still so drawn to a degree over qualifications such as an apprenticeship?
It may come down to the schooling system and pressures, with 43% saying they chose their A-Levels based on subjects that they would most likely to get good grades in, whilst 28% said there just wasn’t enough careers advice available when it comes to making importance decisions post A-Levels.
Students also believed universities could be doing more to champion alternatives, with almost half (49%) saying they should be offering more degree apprenticeships or creating internship / apprentice opportunities to students in line with their degree subject (41%).
Mark Creighton CEO, AVADO comments:
“A-Level Results Day is a stressful day for sixth-formers up and down the country, with thousands banking on their grades to cement their careers at university. But with so many readily believing that these future degrees won’t prepare them for their careers, why do they insist on going?
"Here at AVADO, the UK’s leading apprenticeship provider, we’re breaking the mould and today, we’re encouraging students to consider alternative options. Not only could you earn money whilst studying through degree apprenticeships, but you even could enter the world of work from the get go and leave that university debt and student life working across tech, HR and digital for innovative brands like Microsoft, Google and MTV.”
James Eiloart, Senior Vice President of EMEA, Tableau Software, said:
"The fact that nearly half of all young people do not believe university prepares them for a job suggests a worrying disconnect between the education system and the demands of the modern workplace. Addressing this challenge will require action on a number of different fronts.
"Britain is facing a looming skills gap in key areas such as data analytics. We must get away from the idea that universities alone should be responsible for sustaining the talent pool. We believe apprentice programmes have a vital role to play as a viable alternative to university that can deliver the new and emerging skills businesses require.
"We must also consider the skills businesses are demanding and ensure these are reflected in the way courses are taught at university. For example, analytical reasoning, data science and business analysis are currently amongst the top 25 most in-demand skills for today’s workforce – these skills will be crucial for young people as they enter tomorrow’s workplace, whatever career path they choose. Rather than hiving these off into a few technical subjects, we need to look more holistically at how data literacy and other core skills can be embedded into a far broader swathe of university courses."