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Career ambitions keep school leavers sights set on university

Over eight in ten school-leavers have their sights set on going to university, with long-term career goals rather than short-term financial gains foremost in their minds, a survey has found.

The latest Trendence survey of 9,000 UK school leavers found that 84 per cent were aiming to enter higher education, and they had different priorities to those planning to go straight into work.

Those with their sights set on university were less motivated by short term financial gains and more concerned with securing a path to longer-term career goals, whereas those who wanted to go immediately into the workplace wanted to start earning as soon as possible, says a report on the findings.

Among school leavers planning to go to university, nearly two thirds said they chose this route because they needed to get a higher level qualification to enter their chosen career. Getting a better job was the motivating factor for 57 per cent, while 55 per cent wanted to study their subject more.

However, over half (52 per cent) said the offer of a very high salary would make them consider taking up a job instead. A guarantee that they would be able to take a degree at some point while working would also make 40 per cent of school-leavers taking part in the survey think twice about immediately entering university.

The study also showed that recent increases in tuition fees have had little impact on the choices of school leavers aiming for university.

"What is immediately noticeable in our findings is that the core drivers behind the decision-making process of work-bound students and university-bound students are completely different’, said David Palmer, trendence UK Research Manager.

"Companies offering work-based training or apprenticeships may do well to focus on students’ financial concerns, whereas universities and similar higher education institutes could do better by speaking to their career ambitions."

chaiyapruek / 123RF
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