Career advice for studentsMassive gap in careers advice for 16 to 18 year olds and even less information available to those who choose not to go to university, finds new research.
Students are not getting the information they need at the crucial stages of their education to make decisions about university, training or employment, according to new research into student routes into employment.
The research, Post 16 Pathways, was commissioned for a HTI (Heads Teachers and Industry) Strategic Forum by TMP Worldwide and PwC. It sought the opinion of over 1,000 16 to 18 year olds in education as well as almost 100 employers. The research found that 41% of students believe their school careers service is below par and they have to look elsewhere for advice. Just over a third of students (34%) take career guidance from their parents, with only 20% depending on their school’s careers teacher. 12% look online. The research reports that University had gone "beyond a choice and become a rite of passage.”
· An overwhelming majority of students (70%) surveyed said they plan to go to university.
· Four out of five felt that a degree is either important or very important to their future career prospects.
· Two thirds of students said their school places a greater emphasis on going to university than other career alternatives.
· Only 5% felt an apprenticeship was the best option, suggesting students still see university as the route to better jobs and earnings.
· Around 60% of students said they chose their A Levels with a particular career in mind.
The research highlighted frustrations on both sides over the lack of clear lines of responsibility for getting the right information to students to make informed decisions. Only 4% of employers said schools are doing enough to facilitate this link but they also admitted they needed to do more strengthen their links with schools.
Students remain to be convinced: just over half of students - 54% - have not had any interaction with employers while at school, despite 57% of employers reporting they were actively engaging with them, predominantly through careers events in schools.
Over half of the employers questioned do not currently offer a school leaver programme but encouragingly 45% said they are planning to run a programme in the future. Students viewed apprenticeships as a good way to start a career which might lead to a degree later. Learning skills specific to a job and earning straight away were amongst the strongest features highlighted. However students associated apprenticeships more with manual jobs than white collar careers, limiting their appeal to those looking for a career in the professions, but opening up opportunities for new routes to recruitment for Britain’s biggest business employers.
Cost of a degree
When questioned about the impending rise in university tuition fees, surprisingly only 37% said they were less likely to go. However, those considering other routes into employment said they felt in the dark about the options available to them with 42% saying they were poorly informed about the current alternatives to university.
Jayne Cullen, Head of Graduate Solutions, TMP Worldwide comments:
"These results demonstrate the scale of the opportunity for both employers and students with the right attitude to work and study. There is much work to be done to address the differing agendas between schools and the employment market. A sizeable group of young people may be unaware of the opportunities but have the aptitudes that employers are looking for.”
Sonja Stockton, PwC Director of Recruitment, said:
"University and apprenticeships have to be a choice, not a compromise for talented students and employers alike. But it requires a fundamental rethink of how employers attract, assess, develop and reward the recruits they need for their business to grow. That's not going to happen overnight. Education and business need to come together to kick start a new approach to supporting young people in making these decisions. We met with over 150 careers advisors recently from across the UK, and their feedback was for more information, and proved to us there’s a huge appetite for engagement.”
Anne Evans, Chief Executive of HTI, said:
"This research on the complex choices faced by both employers and candidates, highlights the importance of bringing together business and school leaders to actively address the leadership challenges that arise from it. This is needed to build capacity for future life opportunities for all young people and equip them with the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens; for the benefit of us all.”