Academic misconceptions are preventing young people from pursuing careers in tech

Research conducted ahead of results day (10 August) shows that many young people wrongly believe they need to be a ‘straight A student’ to succeed in tech and digital industries

Research conducted ahead of young people collecting their A-level results today (10 August) shows that tech industries could be missing out on top talent due to the academic misconceptions held by many students.

In a study conducted by QA, the UK’s largest provider of technology-focused apprenticeships, two-fifths (42%) of the survey’s 2,005 16-24-year-old participants felt they would need to be a ‘straight A student’ to work in technology, while 60% thought that they must have a degree to land a job in the field.

Worryingly, almost a third (32%) if young people don’t believe they are clever enough to work in tech, while almost three-quarters (77%) mistakenly thought they must excel at maths and science to enter the professional field.

Forty percent of respondents felt that not studying computing at school or college would prevent them from working in the sector, and one in five did not think they could afford the training required to build a career.

“With salaries well above average, tech offers a career choice that should appeal to a diverse range of future job-seekers” – Paul Geddes, QA

Thoughts surrounding salaries could also be restricting the sector from recruiting talent. While 40% of research participants said that a high pay packet would encourage them to commit to a career in tech or digital industries, only 10% believed they would have the potential to earn over £75k – which is average wage across the sector.

“For our entry-level tech apprenticeships,” said QA CEO Paul Geddes, “we look for people with the right aptitude and attitude to succeed, rather than specific STEM qualifications.

“With salaries well above average, tech offers a career choice that should appeal to a diverse range of future job-seekers. Whether it’s via an apprenticeship or a degree apprenticeship, a tech career provides access to some of the UK’s most interesting and rewarding jobs. Apprenticeships offer the added bonus that young people can learn and get valuable work experience whilst earning, addressing the concerns about the costs of learning voiced by nearly a quarter of respondents to this survey.”

“I would encourage all candidates receiving their results this week to consider the amazing opportunities in the tech sector” – Paul Geddes, QA

On a more positive note, 65% if parents with children age 11-16 now hold apprenticeships with the same regard as university degrees, also ranking tech in the top four career paths they would be proudest of their child pursuing, behind legal (3rd), science (2nd) and medical (1st).

Geddes added: “As the largest provider of technology apprenticeships in the UK, we have helped kickstart the tech careers of many people who are not degree-educated, including many who have not studied STEM subjects at A-Level. I would encourage all candidates receiving their results this week to consider the amazing opportunities in the tech sector.”


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