Opinion: Youth Employment

Opinion: Chris Jones highlights how the increase in tuition fees is encouraging more young people to consider all of their options.

17 August 2012

Chris Jones, CEO and Director General of City & Guilds, highlights how the increase in tuition fees is encouraging more young people to consider all of their options:

"With A Level results now out, young people up and down the country will be weighing up their future education and career options, as they decide what to do next. Their decision process is likely to be markedly different from those who received their A Level results just a few years ago. As university tuition fees soar and graduate unemployment sits at near record levels, the value of university, both in terms of money and guaranteeing employment, will be considered with far greater scrutiny than ever before.

In fact, recent research from The Independent Commission on Fees identified the astronomical rise of tuition fees as the key reason behind a significant drop in applications to English universities this year.

This insight came as little surprise to me. In October this year, City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development (CSD) is to release a report which examines the beliefs young people (aged 14 – 20 years) hold about their future career prospects. One key finding from the report is that an overwhelming majority (91%) believe it’s likely that university will be too expensive for many families in the future; revealing a generation acutely aware of the heavy financial burden further education can carry.

University remains the right option for many young people, and indeed is the best route for certain career paths. However it isn’t the only route available to take. Both the results from CSD and The Independent Commission on Fees support my belief that as young people consider their options, there is a greater focus on alternatives to university. It also helps explain new figures released by City & Guilds, which show that the number of young people starting higher level vocational qualifications has more than doubled in the past year. The correlation between this and annual tuition fees hitting £9000 tells us clearly that young people are starting to rethink the best routes into employment, including high quality vocational learning."


Our research reveals that three quarters of young people demand skills-based training to achieve their ambitions Read full research article