New research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has found that people of all ages feel it is necessary to go to university to do well in life, especially the young, with half of 18- to 24-year-olds believing that going for a degree is the option they need to take.
The FMB asked people of all ages what they felt about the need to go to university, and the findings show that the younger the age group, the more pressure they had from someone – be it parents, teachers, friends, and/or society in general – to work towards a degree rather than any other type of study or work option, including apprenticeships.
By age group, the proportion of people feeling pressurised to go to university is:
12% of over-55s
23% of 45- to 54-year-olds
30% of 35- to 44-year-olds
40% of 25- to 34-year-olds
50% of 18- to 24-year-olds
Commenting on the research, Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, says: “It is deeply concerning that half of the nation’s young people felt pressurised into going to university. Indeed, this new research shows a pattern: the younger the generation, the more likely they were to feel pressurised into studying for a degree. In the past, academic education was often favoured over vocational studies but this view was always questionable and is now outdated.
“With GCSE results having just been published, we are urging students to give other career paths such as vocational training and apprenticeships serious consideration. A construction apprenticeship can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career. Our recent research showed that the average university graduate in England earns £32,000 a year whereas your average bricklayer or roofer is earning £42,000 a year.”
He adds: “The construction industry is facing a severe skills shortage and it’s therefore of utmost importance that more young people join the sector. We are calling on all parents and teachers to encourage those who are finding out their GCSE results today to consider a career in construction. We know that nearly all of the key trades have become harder to recruit in the second quarter of this year compared to the previous three months. But construction isn’t just mud and boots, there are careers of all kinds up for grabs including engineering and quantity surveying.
“The only way we can guarantee enough skilled construction workers in the future is by attracting more young people into the sector and training them to a high standard.”