Middle-class teenagers are ditching degrees for apprenticeships because they want better value for money, the head of one of the UK’s biggest graduate employers has said.
Kevin Ellis, chairman of PwC, said it was a trend “we’ve been seeing for a while” and he expects school leavers who don’t have financial support from parents to increasingly shun university degrees amid the cost of living crisis.
The firm is responding by changing its recruitment process. It hires around 2,000 graduates and apprentices every year, of which around a third are school leavers joining its apprenticeship programmes. However, Mr Ellis expects that proportion “will grow”.
Mr Ellis told The Telegraph: “Everyone who has gone to university at the moment, has gone to university in a previous world, pre-cost-of-living crisis.”
He added: “More sixth formers and potential graduates’ families will be worried about yet more debt, at higher interest rates, coming into their domestic house, by their children going off to get those skills and training that as an economy we’re going to need….We haven’t seen it yet, but it’s coming.”
Turning down a place at Cambridge
Ed Elliott, headteacher at The Perse School, an independent school in Cambridge, said a pupil at the school in 2021 turned down a place at Cambridge University to do a degree apprenticeship at the Dyson Institute.TIOB News