Alternative career path advocated

Parents agree with a government minister’s belief that the education system is too geared to directing young people onto courses that do nothing to prepare them for later life, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by GQA Qualifications.

The nationwide survey of just over 1,000 parents with school-age children found that more than 60% of respondents agreed that for decades we have been recruiting too many young people onto university courses that do nothing to improve their life chances or help with their career goals.

Furthermore, more than 75% agreed that vocational training, careers and/or vocational qualifications could be beneficial to young people as an alternative career path to going to university.

Only 24% believe there is sufficient advice readily available, a direct challenge for those who want to raise awareness of alternatives to further education.

“I am concerned for young people for whom this country seems to be creating the perfect storm,” Mick Clayton, GQA’s CEO, said.

“On the one hand we have an explosion in university courses from which neither young people nor society benefit. And on the other hand is a commonly held belief that advice concerning vocational routes is not readily available. We need to be doing more to tackle this situation.

“In the fenestration industry, business leaders need to get the message out there that help is at hand for young people, and that vocational training, careers and qualifications are viable alternatives to university for them. This is one of the key roles for the Building Our Skills – Making Fenestration a Career of Choice campaign, and I would urge as many industry employers and other bodies as possible to support the work it is doing.

“I am, however, heartened by the survey revelation regarding how the fenestration industry is perceived by the parents questioned. Over half of respondents were not averse to their children one day entering this industry. I would hope that as the reputation of the industry continues to improve year on year, more and more parents would encourage their children down this route when they are of employable age.

“More parents taking part in the survey agreed with the idea of the fenestration industry being a potential career path for their child than those who did not. This is certainly welcome news.”

Fensa supports the campaign, and sends glass and glazing staff into schools to talk about the industry.

Anda Gregory, managing director of GGF Commercial, who also sits on the GQA board as a Fensa representative, said: “There has been an issue since polytechnics started to become university campuses. Parents clearly understand that not all children are academic and they value the vocational route. The results of this survey demonstrate that clearly.”