Young people are choosing not to pursue higher education due to financial concerns, a study has found.
Youth Opportunities Tracker from Barnardo’s and Co-op aimed to study the change in aspirations of young people across the UK.
Compared to 2021, 250,000 fewer young people aspire to enter higher education in 2023. This comes as student debt for those currently on a university course is estimated to reach £45,000.
By contrast, the amount of young people interested in apprenticeships has risen by 4% to 44%.
The cost of living appears to be a driving force behind these changes. Over a third of young people have reported difficulty paying for or accessing food and have used food support over the past six months.
Sadly, around a quarter of young people believe it’s unlikely they will have enough money to meet their basic needs in the future.
Director of community and shared value at Co-op, Rebecca Birkbeck said: ‘The cost of living has had a seismic impact on young people, with many having to prioritise basic needs over long-term career goals and aspirations. We’re seeing that many people are unable to make the financial compromises required to set themselves up for future success.’
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