10 September 2019

  • Two in five British parents (39%) believe apprenticeships and on-the-job training are better for career prospects than university for their children
  • Just a third of parents believe university is a good idea (31%)
  • Almost one in 10 (9%) believe that university is no longer financially viable

British parents believe that apprenticeships and on-the-job training offer better career prospects than a university degree for their children, according to new research by Lloyds Bank, as part of its How Britain Lives series.

The research, conducted in partnership with YouGov, found that two in five parents (39%) favour apprenticeships and on-the-job training, while just a third (31%) of parents think that university is a good idea.

Coupled with this, almost one in 10 (9%) parents believe that university is no longer a financially viable option. A similar number (11%) feel under pressure to help with the cost, and over one in 20 (6%) also feel pressure to help their children repay debt.

Preferring on-the-job training or an apprenticeship over university is not just the opinion of parents - overall, a third of Brits (34%) agree that this type of continued education offers the best future career prospects. Whereas, three in ten (31%) Brits think university is still a good idea despite the costs.    

However, views about further education differ across the generations. Those over 55 are least likely to think university is a good idea despite the cost (just 27% believe this) and are the most likely to believe on the job training provides the best career prospects for younger people (40% believe this).

In contrast, younger people (18-24 year olds) are still more optimistic about university, with 43% stating they believe it’s a good option despite the costs, and only 20% believing on the job training would provide the best career prospects.

Those aged 25-34 are also the most likely to believe that university is no longer a financially viable option, with the research revealing that 17% believe this – compared to the average of 10%.

Lloyds Banks’ research into aspirations for further education also found that many won’t be using the Bank of Mum and Dad to fund university degrees.

The How Britain Lives research found that a large proportion of those going to university will rely on a student loan (43%), a third (34%) expect to use savings, one in twenty (5%) will use a bank loan or overdraft, and a further third (34%) plan to work part-time while they study to help them through.

Yet three in ten (29%) of parents polled would be happy to help their children with the cost of university.

Miles Ravenhill, Director at Lloyds Bank said: While a university education has traditionally been seen as a gateway into the world of work, and remains popular, alternative career paths such as apprenticeships and training can be as effective and are growing fast - and don’t come with the hefty price tag.

“For those about to embark on further studies, it’s important to be open with family about money, as having trusted support and guidance really helps, particularly when it comes to managing tight student budgets.”

The How Britain Lives research also found that people living in Scotland are the most in favour of a university education and still believe that attending university is a good idea (40%). Scottish parents are the most likely in Britain to help towards the cost of university with almost four in ten (39%) planning to do so.

Meanwhile, residents of Yorkshire (17%), and the West Midlands (15%), are the most likely to believe that university education isn’t financially viable.