By Ben Simmons

School leavers lack career guidance and are not making informed choices about their future, according to recent research released today by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians).

The report revealed that 16—18 year olds across the UK have confused views on studying for a degree and where it can lead.

University education was high on the wish list for 16 -18 year olds with 79% saying they still planned to go to university despite the huge hike in tuition fees. Yet, 61% of those surveyed didn’t know tuition fees alone could leave them with a debt of up to £27,000 after a three year degree course.

The report clearly indicates that school leavers deem degrees as necessary requirements into the professions with 45% of school leavers believing you need a degree to work in accounting, 36% believing you need a degree to work in the field of engineering and 22% believing you need a degree to work in the IT market.

But when pressed for their greatest concerns, 37% of those that took part in the report revealed their biggest concern for the future would be finding a job. This was closely followed by 25% of sixteen to eighteen year olds saying their biggest worry for the future would be having enough money.

“Careers advice is failing our young people," Jane Scott Paul, Chief Executive at AAT commented.

"It is simply not acceptable that school leavers are making vital choices about their future without fully understanding the consequences of their decision. Too many young people opt for university as a default option without any knowledge of the return they will get on their investment or any awareness of the alternatives that are open to them.

"Young people must have access to independent career advice and guidance early on so that they can make informed choices between university or the alternative routes which lead into other career paths. If things don’t change we are not just letting down our young people, we are missing an opportunity to develop the skills so vital to support growth in our economy.”

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