We regret going to university, say more than half of North West graduates in new survey

Study by Barclays Apprenticeships found that 64% of young people in the region felt under pressure to go to university from their parents or friends. Tony McDonough reports

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Many young people in the North West regret having gone to university, the survey found


More than half of recent graduates in the North West say they regret going to university with many saying their degree was not necessary for their current job, a new survey has found.

A study published on Thursday by Barclays Apprenticeships revealed 52% of graduates who left university in the last five years say they wish they had taken a more direct route into their careers.

The study found that 64% of young people in the region felt under pressure to go to university, with 29% citing this pressure as coming from their parents and 18% saying it was from their friends.

And 71% felt their parents would have been disappointed if they had not gone to university and when asked their reasons for choosing university, 15% admitted they went purely to please their parents.

Other routes

However, in the same survey 49% of parents of students or graduates say they would not have been disappointed had their child not gone to university and instead considered other routes.

In fact, 66% said they would actually encourage their child to do an apprenticeship over a university degree, revealing a significant shift in attitudes compared to 2016, when 65% of parents in the North West felt university was the best option for their child.

Parents are also becoming increasingly knowledgeable about higher education with 63% of those polled now aware of degree level apprenticeships, compared to only 20% in 2016.

The Barclays Apprenticeships study also spoke to employers with 59% saying they valued degree apprenticeships as highly as a university degree and 85% saying they would hire someone who had done an apprenticeship or a degree via the apprenticeship route. 

Change perceptions

Commenting on the survey, 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. Doing an apprenticeship brings amazing opportunities; you are earning while you are learning, and getting really valuable skills that will make you an attractive prospect to businesses.

“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.”

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