Older people value vocational education more than young adults do, survey reveals

More than half of adults aged 55-64 favour vocational education over university, according to a study by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Older people, rather than those aged between 18 and 24, are more likely to believe that vocational education is the best route to employment, according to a new report.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults, conducted by by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), asked both 18- to 24-year-olds and 55 to 64-year-olds whether they believed vocational or higher education pathways were the best routes to employment. Almost 60 per cent of those aged between 55 and 64 thought vocational education offered the best route to employment, while 54 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds thought a university degree was a better way of getting a job. A third of younger people believed vocational education was the best route to employment, while only 31 per cent of the adults aged between 45 and 55 thought higher education was the best option.

Overall, 86 per cent of all adults believed that more should be done by the government to increase employers’ recognition of vocational qualifications, and that companies should give better access to careers via on-the-job training.

AAT chief executive Mark Farrar said: “AAT’s research has highlighted a distinct difference in thinking between younger and older groups over what type of education is most beneficial to progressing a career. “It is abundantly clear that there is a public appetite for government and industry to do more to recognise vocational qualifications and promote access to employment via alternative routes. Genuine social mobility can be delivered through both vocational and higher education, but much more needed to be done to inform young people of the options available to them when they leave school.”

Michael Martins, an economist at the Institute of Directors, said: “Vocational studies can make a huge difference to social mobility while also increasing the UK’s global competitiveness.”

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