From education to employment

Nearly half of sixth form and college students feel ‘pressure’ to go to university

Research polling 189 youngsters in further education found just shy of two-fifths would even feel like a ‘failure’ if they didn’t progress to uni to study.

And a third don’t feel they have a choice on whether they progress to higher education if they want to be deemed successful.

More than a third don’t think their parents would be completely supportive if they were to choose an apprenticeship over university studies.

The research, commissioned by IBM, found 47 per cent aren’t aware of the option to pursue a degree apprenticeship – completing a degree and working simultaneously – instead of going to university.

And just one in 10 could confidently name companies which could offer them apprenticeship opportunities to further their knowledge while earning a salary.

Jenny Taylor, IBM’s UK foundation leader, said:

“It can be hard to know what you want to do when you’re young, or even when you’re older – your passions can change, and it might mean you want to change careers altogether.”

“Young people either fail to receive the correct information on the routes available to them, or are presented with so much that it can become overwhelming.”

“There are different ways to get into the same career path – it just depends on what’s right for you and this does not always mean university.”

The research also surveyed 698 graduates and found 65 per cent admit to having regrets about going to university.

More than a fifth don’t feel they ‘got ahead’ of their peers by doing a degree, and 23 per cent chose a subject unrelated to the career they are now in.

A third regret their higher education studies because of how much it cost, and 17 per cent have qualms because they didn’t enjoy their experience.

It also emerged nearly a fifth of graduates don’t think their parents would have been supportive if they opted for the apprenticeship route over a university degree.

Additional research of 1000 parents of children currently in education also found nearly four in 10 wouldn’t be completely supportive if their offspring opted for an apprenticeship over university.

In fact, 57 per cent of mums and dads weren’t aware of the option of a degree apprenticeship, and seven in 10 confessed they can’t confidently name five companies that would offer apprenticeships.

More than a quarter of parents don’t think you’ll be paid as much without a degree.

And 35 per cent believe it is an expectation to go to university.

It also emerged that following graduation and getting onto the career ladder, 44 per cent of graduates discovered there were alternative routes to get into the profession they ended up in, as opposed to university.

Yet 32 per cent believe people are more inclined to do a degree because they think it gives you skills you can ONLY get from higher education studies – while 47 per cent think it looks better on a job application.

A third said you won’t get paid as much when you enter the world of work without a degree, and 16 per cent even think you won’t learn how to be independent unless you study at university.

The study, conducted via OnePoll, also found as many as 45 per cent of sixth form and college students have no idea what they want to pursue as a career.

And of those who have thoughts on the profession they want to pursue, one in six aren’t sure what route to take in order to achieve their goals.

Half are under the impression their chosen career path requires a university degree, yet 44 per cent don’t know of the career prospects available through apprenticeships.

Jenny Taylor of IBM added:

“Apprenticeships have proven incredibly effective for companies trying to bridge the skills gap and equip the future workforce with the right skills in a world of digital innovation.”

“The landscape of work has fundamentally changed even in the last few years.

“Apprentices gain the relevant qualifications that equip them for the jobs of the future that require new skills; a huge opportunity for those who may prefer vocational training to traditional education alone.”

“As technological progress accelerates and university costs continue to rise, it is time to banish the apprenticeship stigma, and present the workforce of tomorrow with more than one option for their future.”

“Here at IBM, our apprenticeship programme has proven a key part in building the next generation of technical specialists and leaders in the business.

“As our programme enters its tenth year, we are proud to continue welcoming fresh talent into IBM and securing our own workforce of the future.”

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