From education to employment


 Campaign launched to raise awareness of the benefits of Higher Education

The majority of parents (80 per cent)[1] that didn’t attend Higher Education after leaving school regret it, according to a poll released today from the Department of Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS).  It found that 16 per cent believe that they would now have a better career and 13 per cent would have had a better future if they had continued into Higher Education.  The poll marks the launch of a national awareness campaign from DIUS to help communicate the benefits of Higher Education to both parents and their children, to ensure today’s school leavers make informed decisions about their futures. The findings reveal that 86 per cent of parents say they will, or have, actively encouraged their children to consider Higher Education.  The prospect of a good career is the key factor for more than two thirds (70 per cent) of the 2,000 parents polled, while a secure future for their children is critical to almost half (45 per cent) of adults.  For those who didn’t go, the motivation is to help their children reach the goals they didn’t have the chance to achieve (31 per cent).   And getting that parental support is critical, according to the poll findings.  It found that of the adults polled who didn’t go and regretted it, 13 per cent said their parents were the influencing factor in their decision.   1,418 mature students were also polled for DIUS to talk about why they had chosen to go into Higher Education later in life.  The poll found that 74 per cent regret not going into Higher Education straight from school.  They chose to go back to Higher Education because they believed that they had missed out on life opportunities (17 per cent), they ended up in jobs they didn’t enjoy (16 per cent) or because family members and friends had better careers and they wanted similar for themselves (13 per cent).  A third (31 per cent) felt that Higher Education was vital for the pursuit of a new career while 28 per cent wanted Higher Education qualifications to further an existing career. Money was also a key consideration with 28 per cent citing the potential to earn more money after attending Higher Education as being the key factor.    Higher Education Minister, David Lammy, said:  Studying for a Higher Education qualification can broaden your horizons in new and exciting ways, and is a real investment for the future with graduates enjoying better career and earning opportunities.  "Getting more people into Higher Education has never been so important for our country’s future, and having a more educated and skilled workforce is something from which we will all benefit. "We recognise the value that Higher Education brings which is why by 2011 we will have increased funding by 30 per cent in real terms since 1997 – spending £11bn a year on Higher Education." Actress Michelle Collins is a parent who now regrets not going into Higher Education.  She said: “I would have liked to go to University straight from school to have more exposure to a cross section of people as well as to study and enhance my existing career options. If I had gone on to Higher Education, I would have studied classics to help me understand a more varied amount of acting roles.  “I always remember my Mother encouraging me to go to University but I didn’t listen to her, which I now seriously regret. I have been very lucky to get where I am however not everyone will be as fortunate so listening to parents who are encouraging about Higher Education shouldn’t be ignored. I will certainly be encouraging my child to go into Higher Education when they get to that age.”  For further information please visit

[1] 29% of those polled went to University and were therefore dismissed from the calculations for this statistic. Other figures were re-calculated on this basis to represent 100%, without those who had gone to university.

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