Has the penny dropped yet about alternatives to university?

Having recently attended my son’s year 12 welcome presentation (first year sixth form in old currency), it was clear that a university destination – and specifically a Russell Group uni, required hard work, commitment, an excellent personal statement and of course 3 A’s at the very least.

From working with many of our employers, we know that they have not filled their 2021 school leaver intakes, are offering very competitive salaries of £22,000 plus, and minimum A levels of BBC.

It seems to me [Martin Taylor, CEO at First Intuition Ltd], that we’re currently in the throes of a serious misalignment between the demands of our labour market and the supply from our school system.

Accountancy for School and College Leavers

Has the penny dropped yet about alternatives to university?

Having recently attended my son’s year 12 welcome presentation (first year sixth form in old currency), it was clear that a university destination – and specifically a Russell Group uni, required hard work, commitment, an excellent personal statement and of course 3 A’s at the very least.

From working with many of our employers, we know that they have not filled their 2021 school leaver intakes, are offering very competitive salaries of £22,000 plus, and minimum A levels of BBC.

It seems to me [Martin Taylor, CEO at First Intuition Ltd], that we’re currently in the throes of a serious misalignment between the demands of our labour market and the supply from our school system.

Apprenticeships and the careers that they lead into was skipped over pretty much in the school presentation – an opportunity missed.

We have to do more than this. We have to ensure that in year 12, both students and parents are informed about all the options that lay ahead of them and can make a considered decision.

If you want to be a chartered accountant, especially ICAEW qualified, I would absolutely advise not to do an accountancy and finance degree. Join a school leaver programme – all the top 20 accountancy firms have them.

If you want to be an work in IT don’t do a traditional computer science degree; do a systems professional apprenticeship which many firms now support. And this is relevant for so many other careers as well. If your degree is “job/career related” there is a great chance there is an apprenticeship programme that will be far more effective.

A note to parents and students:

Universities are great and have their place, but they’re part of the solution, not the only show in town. If you want the “university experience” really consider what you think that is and compare to joining a firm that has an intake of 40+ other trainees, that has year 2s and year 3s, buddy systems, sports teams, will pay you £50k when you are 23, and give you a globally recognised professional qualification.

A note to sixth form leaders in schools:

Be more focused on careers, on how your sixth formers are going to make a positive impact on our society, not just about working hard for the next stepping stone. Talk about where the stepping stones could get them. If they knew that then they may decide to take a different route, and you should be pleased to help them get there.

I’m not convinced that the penny has dropped yet, but as more and more traditional “graduate jobs” move to “school leaver jobs” the grads will realise they have spent 3 more years, £50,000+ and that the jobs they were hoping for have already been filled.

It is up to all of us to help inform the next generation of their options – it’s great to be involved!

Looking for further reading?

Learn more about the different career paths in accountancy by going to the AAT website – click here for more information.

Find out more about the programmes we offer to lead into your career in accountancy. You can also learn more about FI’s accountancy apprenticeship schemes.

If at any point you need any help or support, or just have a few questions about accountancy training, please get in touch with our support team.

And finally, for more exclusive news and industry tips from First Intuition, head to the FI Hub.

 

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