Why plumbing and history are not created equal

What advice are parents giving their children about getting a job?

17 November 2014 / Be the first to comment

You're at school and thinking about your next step, but what should you choose?

Student loan debt is scary, but you also worry about finding a job without a degree. Then you have to factor in your parents' opinions. Mum wants you to be a doctor; dad wants you to be an engineer. And you don't want to disappoint the good people who've kept you fed and clothed all these years.

Well if it helps, I can say that you're not alone. Most young people want a guarantee that their education will lead to a good career. And as a result, many turn to their parents for advice.

So what exactly are parents advising their children to do?

Becoming employable

With the Edge Foundation, City & Guilds surveyed more than 3500 parents. We found that parents think vocational qualifications will make a young person more employable than more 'traditional' degrees.

Only 8% thought studying for a history degree at university would make a graduate 'very employable'. Now compare that to 57% for a plumbing qualification. It's a big difference. In fact, plumbing ranked higher than both a law degree (53%) and a science degree (52%).

But does it mean that parents all want their kids to be plumbers?

No, actually. Just 13% of parents want their children to gain a level 3 vocational qualification. Not surprising as 63% said they didn't know much about them.

Clearly, there's a disconnect between what parents think, and what they advise. It's partly because a lot of parents still think university is the best route to a successful career. But it's also because they don't necessarily know about the alternatives to academia.

This article was originally published by HuffPost Students - read the full version.

See the full report on our research with parents

Infographic: what do parents know and think about education?

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