Results day is a time for students to really think about what the future holds for them. The recent general election highlighted concerns around the rising cost of university tuition and an uncertain job market. Young people are more enthused by flexibility and security and seem to be starting on the career ladder much earlier.

Research commissioned by ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has revealed less than half of young people (43%) think university is the best way to start their career, while 26% value apprenticeships as the better option, and 15% would chose other professional qualifications.Best way to start career

Young people’s opinions on skill-set seem to reflect the changing attitudes towards traditional forms of study. Almost half (47%) rate confidence as the most important skill in being successful in business in comparison to 36% who believe it is intelligence.

Which skills

Yet, enjoyment seems to be the main motivation for career choice, as 58% of young people say having a career they enjoy is their top priority, while a fifth say money is the most important factor when looking for a career.

ACCA’s director of professional education, Reza Ali, says:

Receiving exam results can be a stressful time for young people, their families and teachers. University study is a path which students often feel compelled to take. This path may not always be the best option for school leavers, due to the cost of going to university; a need to be at home to support a family member or the need to work and earn a living.

ACCA believes in diverse opportunities and this research highlights the importance in students finding their most suitable path. Traditional routes of success, such as going to university are still popular, but this doesn’t mean one should rule out other options such as apprenticeships or professional qualifications.

Emily Thorne, accounting apprentice from Dunstable, says:

When finishing my A Levels I felt university wasn’t the route I wanted to take, however I did want to gain a respectable qualification within higher education that I could then use to obtain a successful profession within accountancy. 

I had heard about apprenticeships in the past however this was never something that was encouraged or mentioned much at school. I started to research myself into potential routes and an apprenticeship sounded like the perfect solution.

Morlai Kagbo, managing director of Moracle Ltd, says:

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Before now, schools were encouraging learners to stay on and study and then go to university. Young people and their parents, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, do not realise they can leave school, get a job, be paid and go on an apprenticeship programme, ending up with a professional qualification.

I very much hope the ACCA Apprenticeship programme will continue to address this and make a difference.

We are all in this together to create an apprenticeship system that works in a jobs market that is increasingly characterised by small firms and ensures all young people have access to high quality ‘earning and learning’ routes.

About ACCA: ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 198,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,291 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here: 

The research for ACCA was carried out by TNR between 24/07/ 2017 and 28/07/2017 amongst a panel resulting in 2008 respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.

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Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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