Research presented by AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk has uncovered valuable insights into the career-related aspirations, habits and opinions of school and college students in the UK, their parents and their teachers. Based on three separate online panel surveys of 1,500 school and college students, 200 parents and guardians, and 175 teachers and careers advisers, the AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk School & College Leaver Careers Market 2014 annual research report is the first of its kind to explore data gathered from school and college students and their two key ‘influencers’.
Furthermore, to create a research report with sufficient context, the survey data gathered by the AllAboutSchoolLeavers research team was also compared with information from a range of additional sources, including data from the Skills Funding Agency and the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
The study has revealed that 80.75% of school and college students use their parents to help them make key career decisions; however, during the initial research stage, when they are gathering information about the various options, 82% will use Google, 59% will use careers advice and jobs websites, 58% will use careers advisers and teachers, and only 32% will go to their parents for this information.
There is a significant knowledge gap amongst parents when it comes to the alternative options to university, with only 19% being aware of the ‘school leaver programme’ option, and 13% aware of sponsored degrees. Interestingly, 48% of parents reported to us that they go to teachers and careers advisers to source information about school and college leaver options, the second most popular choice behind Google at 50%. As Jack Denton, Co-Founder of AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk explains: “We originally understood that the main influencer on student’s career decisions are their parents, but we wanted to know who influences those influencers. The answer is careers advisers and teachers. Influencing teachers and careers advisers means recruiters can influence parents and students. They are the key to this market.”
Another significant finding in the research report was that almost half of the school and college students who are considering an apprenticeship want to do a Higher Apprenticeship (49.63%), a third want to do an Advanced Apprenticeship (33%) and only 17% want to do an Intermediate Apprenticeship.
However, the number of opportunities available does not match the growing demand for Higher Apprenticeships, with only 9,810 Higher Apprentices starting an apprenticeship programme in 2012/2013, compared to 207,680 starting an Advanced Apprenticeship and 292,760 starting an Intermediate Apprenticeship in the same year. However, these top level apprenticeships are the fastest growing, with a 165% increase in Higher Apprenticeships starts in just one year between 2011/12 and 2012/13. It would appear, therefore, that although there is a disparity between the growing demand and current Higher Apprenticeship places, there is a correlation between the growing demand and growing increase in number of places, which is a trend that looks set to continue.
A third finding revealed in the report is that an astonishing 98.65% of teachers and careers advisers agree with the statement, “I would be happy to hear from employers who offer apprenticeships, school leaver programmes and other alternatives to university”. However, there is a primary challenge in reaching teachers and careers advisers, with the majority (62.69%) preferring to be contacted directly by phone or email, which may prove difficult with resource constraints.
The report, which is 64 pages long and took six months to produce at a cost of £20,000, does not only contain in-depth statistics and analysis, it also offers suggestions and practical solutions to some of the challenges faced by recruiters in attracting the top school and college leaver talent in the UK. As Jack Collins, Research Lead at AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk explains: “This report is not simply designed to offer recruiters a smorgasbord of intriguing insights that will pique their interest and spark a conversation. Our core aim has been to create a robust research document that can be used as a solid foundation when recruiters make key decisions about their school and college leaver recruitment campaigns.”