Finding a job is the biggest concern of young people in the region, according to new research.
According to a survey carried out by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) 44% of 16-18 year old respondents in the North West are most worried about finding work.
This is followed by 18% concerned with having enough money, 13% worried about finding their life partner and 12% concerned about debt.
Nationally, respondents believed university was the best pathway to a job with 79% claiming they planned to go to university. Yet in the North West, 60% of those surveyed didn’t know tuition fees could cost up to £27,000.
According to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), over a third of graduates (39%) in the North West from the 2010/2011 cohort are unemployed or underemployed.
AAT is now urging school leavers to consider vocational education and apprenticeships.
Lisa Whiteside, 19, is a trainee accountant in Preston, she said: “I got a job as a trainee accountant at Danbro Accounting Ltd around the same time I started my AAT studies. My situation was ideal, I was going to earn money while still learning and progressing my knowledge and skills. For me, the main benefits of an apprenticeship are clear. I avoid incurring university debts, gain valuable experience and directly apply my learning in the workplace.”
AAT chief executive Jane Scott Paul said: “With the average student debt rising to £45,000 and a degree no longer a guaranteed pathway into finding a job; university is not the attractive option it once was. The reality is graduates are ending up in menial and low skilled jobs for which a degree is just not necessary.”