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Not going to uni?

April 13th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

It is not often that I quote the Strathclyde Telegraph. But Jo has pointed out to me this interesting article about how young people in the Uk are pressurised into going to univeristy when it may not be the bext option for them.

The article quotes research conducted by Notgoingtouni.co.uk which “has found that nearly 40% of school leavers feel pressured into attending university by teachers, and 28% said that their parents expected them to take the academic route while a further 20% felt that university was the only career option being made available to them.”

It goes on to cite the Edge foundation who report “1 in 4 students are dropping out of university, with bad advice from careers services being held as one of the reasons: “It is clear that many people are not being advised on the best option for them and their future”.

A Yougov poll has also found that 65% of teachers feel that there is no clear progression for vocational qualifications, unlike the 85% who feel that there is such development for academic ones.

Sarah Clover, of Notgoingtouni.co.uk commented on the findings:

“Despite the name we are in no way against university but sadly experience has shown that many careers advisors are ill equipped to provide guidance on vocational opportunities, leaving young people feeling that university is the only option available to them… careers advisors must be made to learn about the options outside of the traditional university route.”

This research shows the need for both an improvement in careers advice in the UK to include options other than univeristy but also the necessity to raise the prestige of apprenticeships. Ironically labour market data suggests that apprentices find it far easier to find employment than graduates. However the long term pay prospects for graduates remains better than that of apprentices. More flexible work based learning provision could allow progression routes from apprenticeship to higher qualifications. Alternatively, an extension of apprenticeship for graduates could both allow the development of work based skills and knowledge and develop more parity between the different routes.

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