We all make youthful mistakes, it's just the ones we make with regard to education are particularly persistent. Too many students are dropping out of uni, too many regret the electives they’ve chosen and too many arrive at and finish university unsure of what career path to take.
The problem seems to start in High school; it’s expected, or encouraged at least, that most will go on to attend university, this might need a major rethink. Most schools currently spend less than the value of a cup of coffee per student per year on careers advice.
According to research from TwoPointZero who provide coaching and careers advice, nearly a quarter (24%) of young people are unsure of which career direction to take, with over half (55%) coming to regret their electives.
“These figures clearly highlight a systemic problem with the way we educate young people on their career path. We’ve created a herd mentality, where high schools, parents and peer pressure are pushing young people towards university, saying it’s the only way to get a good career, earn good money and get ahead,” says Steve Shepherd, CEO and youth career coach at TwoPointZero.
“As such, is it the University’s fault that so many young people end up dropping out? Are we encouraging too many young people to go to university, when it doesn’t really suit their strengths? Is this creating a problem where young people pick any degree to say they’ve been to university, without thinking about the impact it will have on their careers?
“In my mind, the problem starts before university. Applications for university are higher than ever but you can’t tell me everyone wants to go to university or is suited to it? In reality, that’s not really the way it should work.
“Many of the most in demand jobs at the moment, don’t require a degree. So why all the pressure to go to university? There needs to be a better balance and we need to start educating young people on their career paths much earlier. This would help prevent people from taking a degree for the sake of it and better align their education with their chosen career path, making it more relevant to the employment market.
“And, if they still want to go to university, we need to have safety nets in place to intervene if they are likely to drop out. In our experience, one small tweak to the subjects they take or changing course can prevent them from dropping out and see them succeed.
“We need to provide more guidance to parents to help them understand the employment market isn’t the same as when they left school. And, we need to stop thinking going to university is the be all and end all.”
Could performance funding be a distraction from the real issue?
“Performance funding is not the answer. It doesn’t actually address the issue, just distracts from it and could lead to higher education being out of reach for many young people today.
“Everyone is different. Everyone likes different things. Everyone has different strengths. It is time we accept that and better align our educational institutions to encourage diversity and create better career paths for our young people.
“Otherwise, we’ll continue to see the youth unemployment rate rise. Continue to see an increase in drop-outs and more young people in debt. And, will end up creating a huge problem for the Australian economy, as we will not have a strong workforce to support our country moving forwards.”
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