In a shifting jobs market, vocational training can offer some of the best paths to success
In a shifting jobs market, vocational training can offer some of the best paths to success

This month, thousands of young people across the UK will have received their GCSEA Level and T Level results and will be preparing to take the next step in their education or perhaps entering the workforce. These young people will be faced with a job market that is difficult to predict – the economic impact of Covid-19 is still being felt, along with a possible recession on the horizon, making it all the more important that they choices they make are well informed.

Research conducted by City & Guilds found that 40% of young people are planning to attend university after finishing their A Levels – with girls (47%) being more likely than boys (30%). While getting a degree is undoubtedly the right path for some young people, it is also clear that many will struggle to make effective use of their qualification, with economic modellers Lightcast having found that only 30% of jobs in the UK require a university degree. This means that as many as 1 in 4 graduates will find themselves unable to secure a job that requires their level of education, with many leaving university under the burden of student loans.

Vocational training and apprenticeships represent a valuable alternative pathway, offering entry into a wide range of careers, with learners gaining hands-on experience without accruing the student debt that typically accompanies a university education. Recent research from the London School of economics has also shown that the apparent gap in earnings between apprentices and graduates may have reversed, with apprentices earning up to £7000 more in their 20’s than graduates.  

Unfortunately, the UG struggles with a disconnect between employers, learning providers and learners themselves, with young people frequently not having access to the most up to date information on which to base their career choices. Earlier this year, the Baker clause became legally enforceable, with new guidance for schools expected to be issued in 2023, undoubtedly a step in the right direction towards ensuring young people have access to the information they need to make informed choices about their future.

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