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Students and graduates regret choosing university

Over half of students and graduates in the North West say they regret going to university, according to new research by Barclays.

Two thirds of parents would encourage apprenticeships over a university course – and six out of 10 employers say they value apprenticeships over a degree. Added to this, 48 per cent of young people say they do not need a degree for their current job.

Winnie Bullock, 19, an apprentice at Barclays Technology Centre Radbroke, based at Knutsford said: “Before I joined Barclays as an apprentice, I was living on the farm where I grew up, studying for my GCSEs and working part time.

“I’d always been interested in technology, so when I was 16 I joined Barclays to pursue an apprenticeship in cryptography (coding), with the aim of specialising in cyber security. Being an apprentice is brilliant as it allows me to study for a degree whilst earning. In fact, with my first pay check as a Barclays Apprentice, I bought 24 sheep, which I’ve since sold for double the price!

“I urge anyone considering their higher education options to find out more about apprenticeships, as they offer valuable on the job training as well as a route to a degree qualification.”

According to the Barclays Apprenticeships research, 52 per cent of students and graduates from the North West who left university in the last five years say they regret their decision to go to university, and almost half say they do not need a degree to do their current job.

Yet the study also revealed that 64 per cent of young people in the North West feel under pressure to go to university, with over a quarter citing this pressure as coming from their parents and nearly a fifth saying it was from their friends.

More than seven out of 10 students felt their parents would have been disappointed if they had not gone to university, and when asked their reasons for choosing university, 15 per cent admitted they went purely to please their parents.

Despite their offspring’s worries, almost half of parents of students and graduates say they would not have been disappointed had their child not gone to university and considered other routes. In fact, 66 per cent said they would actually encourage their child to do an apprenticeship over a university degree – which reveals a significant shift in attitudes compared to 2016, when 65 per cent of parents in the North West felt university was the best option for their child.

Nearly six out of ten employers in the North West said they valued degree apprenticeships as highly as a university degree and 85 per cent say they would hire someone who had done an apprenticeship or a degree via the apprenticeship route. This is significantly lower than the national average, though, which saw 70 per cent of employers valuing a degree apprenticeship as highly as a university degree, and 96 per cent saying they would hire someone who had done an apprenticeship or a degree via the apprenticeship route.

Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton said: “Our universities are world-class, but there are other routes to a successful career. We want to change the perception that one route is better than any other.

“There are high-quality apprenticeships available right up to degree level in lots of sectors at the cutting edge including engineering, aerospace, nursing and nuclear. Apprenticeships are only going to keep growing in this country because employers like Barclays are increasingly realising it’s not just about what you know, it’s about the skills you have.”

 

 

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