THE BLOG

Your Future Doesn't Depend on UCAS

20/01/2014 11:22 GMT | Updated 19/03/2014 09:59 GMT

It's that time of year again when thousands of young people put the final touches on their UCAS applications, hold their breath and hit 'send'.

Then they anxiously wait for weeks until their 'life-altering' results come through.

My son went through this process last year. I'll never forget his panicked face as he said, 'What if I don't get any offers?'

I joked that he could always live at home forever with his mum and me, and apparently my humour was ill-timed as it presented his worst nightmare come true.

To him, no university meant no life, no future and no chance of ever establishing a life away from his parents, which is a lot of pressure for a 17 year-old.

Throughout his schooling, his teachers enforced that a happy, successful life starts by going to university. With good grades and a good degree under the belt, the job offers and cash would flow in effortlessly.

Luckily for him, I was around to challenge that notion as I didn't go to uni.

It's the sad truth that almost a million young people are unemployed in this country, and a chunk of those are university graduates.

It disproves the notion that a degree equals job security. According to new research from McKinsey, more than a quarter of university graduates in the UK were still unemployed six months after finishing their programme, compared to 21% of those with vocational training.

Not only that, but 27% of graduates earned less than apprentices last year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

So why aren't more young people considering vocational education? The problem lies in perception. The majority of those surveyed by McKinsey said there's a social bias against vocational training, even though they thought it was a better route to employment than the academic route.

As a consequence, university is typically seen as the best choice, no matter what.

Although that's true for some careers, there are so many other paths that don't require a degree. Instead of always assuming academic is best, ask, 'What is the best way to get the career that I want?'

For those still set on university, I hope you get the results you're after.

However, don't despair if Oxford doesn't pan out. There are plenty of other pathways to a fulfilling future, and most importantly, moving out of mum and dad's house.