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Only half of teens planning to go to uni, survey finds

Just over half of 16 to 18-year-olds are planning to do a degree, survey finds. Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

Today’s 16-18 year-olds do not see a university degree as the only route to a good career, research suggests.

In a survey of 16-18 year-olds by job site Monster, just 53% said they are considering going to university, while 22% plan on completing an apprenticeship.

This is a significant drop since 2013, when 86% of young people said that a university education was important.

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With the average student graduating with over £50,000 of debt, 42% of school leavers are put off from going to university because of money. Meanwhile, over a third (35%) said doing a degree doesn’t guarantee you a great job.

Teenagers and their parents are broadly in agreement. When asked, 48% of parents and 60% of school-leavers said getting a degree will get you a better job than completing an apprenticeship. However, 41% of parents think an apprenticeship is the best route for their child.

Across the UK, parents and teenagers in the north-east have the most positive outlook towards apprenticeships. Over a third (37%) of teens in the region are considering an apprenticeship, compared to UK average of 22%.

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Of parents in the north-east, 69% believe apprenticeships stand you in better stead to get a good job than gaining a degree.

The north-east currently home to the country’s highest unemployment rate. Apprenticeships offer “an immediate route into work, rather than going to university and graduating with huge debt and no job guarantee”, Monster said.

“With the cost of university tuition, young people are moving away from the idea that degrees are essential to getting a good job,” Derek Jenkins at Monster said.

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“While it’s great to see more options available, making this huge decision at a young age is putting school leavers under a lot of pressure. At 16, 17 or 18 who honestly knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives?

Jenkins advised: “Instead of rushing into something, consider taking a year out to do internships and gain experience in different industries, or go travelling before making that decision.

“Whatever route you do decide to go down, if it doesn’t work out, don’t panic. You won’t be the first person to drop out of university or switch careers. Often it’s only through trial and error that you end up where you really want to be.”