A financial sector skills organisation is calling on students from West Sussex to consider alternative career paths to university courses.
The Financial Skills Partnership has the single goal of proactively supporting the development of a skilled workforce in the UK’s financial, finance and accountancy sectors.
As students across the country receive their A-level results, there is still a tendency for them to consider university as their only option to progress in their careers.
But the organisation is calling on students from West Sussex to broaden their horizons and consider the increasing number of alternative routes that lead to professional careers.
A recent survey of 17 and 18-year-olds carried out by the Financial Skills Partnership and Careers Academies UK found that there was a widespread lack of awareness and misunderstanding of apprenticeships, school leaver programmes and tuition fees. As a result, young people are making ill-informed decisions about their futures.
Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership, said: “We find ourselves in a worrying situation whereby although the number of routes into professional careers is increasing, there isn’t enough being done to ensure that the nation’s young people know about them.
“Careers such as those in financial services require specialist skills but those skills can be acquired in various ways.
“In the 21st century learning landscape, university should be considered as just one of a number of routes into the profession.”
The Government has placed an increasing emphasis on apprenticeships by investing £500m over this parliament with a particular focus on 16 to 19-year-olds and on higher level apprenticeships.
Despite this, advice given to young people is largely biased towards degree learning.
Ms Field added: “Students from West Sussex need to widen their options but in order for them to do so, they need to be guided by advisers who appreciate the fact that the lay of the land has changed in terms of modern jobs and careers.
“Government, employers and educators should all take the responsibility of developing talent by embracing the breadth of opportunities that are already starting to benefit the next generation of workers.”
Meanwhile figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics showed that July’s unemployment claimant count for 19-24-year-olds is 3.8 per cent for Horsham district, half of the UK average of 7.6, but far higher than the 1.6 per cent total for the entire population of the area.
This also comes as UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, announced that applications to higher educational institutions in the UK were down from 681,593 to 629,140, a drop of 7.7 per cent from 2011.
For more information visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk