From education to employment

A-LEVELS: Grads plan to ditch university

A-Level graduates consider a course correction in the post-pandemic workplace

One-third of A-Level grads plan to ditch university in favour of apprenticeships, trade, and office work

FastFutures, the free youth work-readiness programme delivered by Avado, the professional academy, has today released research examining the attitudes and expectations of students who will receive their A-Level results tomorrow. Over one third of A-Level graduates plan to explore an alternative education path, such as an apprenticeship, a trade, or office work.

The research surveyed 1,000 students aged 17 to 18, revealing that almost all student respondents (95%) care about their A-Level results. Of this sample, one third expect employers to look more favourably on good grades, suggesting a notion that strong results will lead to a good career path. Yet, feelings toward university have shifted – half of students surveyed do not plan to go to university, largely because of the burden of debt.

  • The most common reasons for students disregarding their A-Level results include that their perspective on education has changed (26%), because of Covid-19, the grades are not fair (34%), and they no longer see the relevance for A-Level grades in the “real world” (26%).
  • Aside from pay, diversity, culture, understanding of mental health and flexible working are cited as the most important to young talent.
  • While nearly half want to attend university, the majority (83%) said they were still confident about their post-year 13 plans.
  • Exactly half (50%) cited they do not plan to attend university because of imminent debt.
  • Students in the East and North West of England plan to use their A-Levels for an apprenticeship.

The attitudinal shift away from tertiary education and curiosity for alternative education routes is a positive step toward rebuilding our economy, and strengthening our workforce.

Mark Creighton, CEO of Avado said:

“Businesses across the country are lacking the inherent capabilities needed to grow and prosper in our ever-evolving economic landscape, and this maps back to universities reaping the benefits of student expenditure, rather than adapting to give them work-ready skills that employers value. Upskilling is now in the hands of employers who have been left to plug the gaps left from tertiary education that is costing businesses, students and the economy millions of pounds a year. The university-career route as we know needs to evolve rapidly to better support our economic recovery. The faster we recognise that and focus our attention on carving out a capabilities-led pathway, the faster we can rebuild our economy.”

In 2020, the rapid transition to digital exposed and exacerbated the imbalance between capabilities organisations need, and capabilities employees possess. Ultimately, the workforce is lacking necessary capabilities to support our recovering economy. Hands-on apprenticeships and programmes like FastFutures, a 12-week digital skills and employability programme for diverse young people will prepare the future leaders of our workforce with the necessary skills and capabilities needed to thrive long-term.

Related Articles