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Recession drives students to vocational courses

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Three quarters of students who have applied to start university this year plan to study a vocational subject like nursing or engineering, according to research from HSBC.

Applications to nursing courses have increased 107 per cent from the start of the financial crisis in 2008 to 2013, while applications to medicine and engineering have increased by 18 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. In comparison applications to English and modern language courses decreased by three per cent and 11 per cent respectively between 2008 and 2013.

Andy Mielczarek, head of retail products at HSBC, said: “Many of these students were aged 12 or 13 when the financial crisis hit in 2008, growing up during the recession, the subsequent years of slow economic growth and a tough job market. On top of this, tuition fees have risen so it’s only natural that this year’s students want to maximise their return on investment.”

In addition nearly a quarter of young people starting university this autumn want to work for themselves when they graduate, almost half of whom say that the recession has made them want to work for themselves more. This is compared to 16 per cent of current students who want to work for themselves once they earn a degree.

Just 15 per cent of soon-to-be students say they will complete an unpaid internship to bolster their employability, compared to 22 per cent of current students who would do so, while 40 per cent say they will secure a paid job relevant to their chosen career while at university.

Prospective students expect to find a graduate positon 3.8 months after graduating and to be paid a salary of £27,000 per year. This is compared to the average graduate salary in 2012 of £21,702.

Mielczarek said: “It’s important that students consider both the outcome of university study and the practicality of finding it. Understanding the financial implications of further education is an important step.”

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