Parents still unsure about vocational options despite employability belief


Only eight per cent of parents feel that a university history degree would make someone “very employable”, while just 22 per cent believe the same about an English degree.

Instead, a survey of more than 3,500 parents has found that vocational qualifications in plumbing, IT, automotive engineering and accountancy are considered much more likely to lead to employment.

The poll has been carried out by the Edge Foundation and City and Guilds ahead of the Skills Show this week.

Of the parents responding, 57 per cent said a young person with a plumbing qualification would be “very employable”, while for IT the figure was 51 per cent. 

Other vocational careers ranked highly included accountancy (44 per cent), automotive engineering (44 per cent), and construction (43 per cent).

When it comes to academic education, the parents felt that a law degree (53 per cent) and a science degree (52 per cent) were strong options to ensure young people were “very employable”.

However, at odds with the findings, the survey also revealed that only 16 per cent of parents hope their child will complete an Apprenticeship.

Furthermore, very few were keen on their children taking Level 2 and 3 qualifications (eight and 13 per cent respectively), although a majority of the parents admitted not knowing much about these types of qualifications.

Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation, which exists to champion technical, practical and vocational learning, said: “Parents know far more about academic qualifications such as GCSEs and A levels, so it is not surprising that these are the ones they hope their children will achieve. This is despite the fact that parents are well aware that practical skills are often the key to getting a job.

“There is a disconnect between what parents know about employability and what they feel is the best for their children in terms of academic achievement. We need to continue in our mission to champion technical, practical and vocational learning, opening up the many options to our young people.”

The research has been released ahead of the Skills Show, a skills and careers event that opens today (Thursday, November 13). Visit


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