Parents still urging teens to choose traditional subjects even though newer degrees are more likely to lead to a job

17 August 2016

Parents across the country continue to encourage their children to pick traditional degree subjects, according to new research by the University of Derby.

With A-Level results out tomorrow (August 18, 2016) a survey has revealed that employability is an important factor for both students and their parents, when it comes to choosing their degree.

The research, based on 2,000 parents with children under 18, found 41% would encourage their children to choose a university based on their employability rates, and that traditional subjects – Science, Maths, English and History – remain firm favourites among parents.

However, the results from the recent Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, carried out by HESA for the University of Derby show that newer courses, such as Child and Youth Studies, Events Management and Media Studies, had a greater chance of helping students find a job with 100% of graduates from those courses in work or further study, six months after graduation.

Gareth Hughes, Psychotherapist and Researcher at the University of Derby said: “I see parents who are worried when their children want to study subjects such as pop music or music technology.

“Today’s universities are trying to meet employers’ needs through innovative courses but they are also preparing young people for jobs in the future that we cannot foresee. A degree isn’t a job training programme. If you engage with it, then a degree in any subject will give you the same set of skills and build you up as a person.”

As students across the UK receive their A-Level results tomorrow, there can be a sense of anxiety for students hoping to achieve the right grades. Research has shown over a third (35%) of parents would encourage their children to go through Clearing if they didn't receive the grades they were expecting or attained higher grades. This option stood out to be more popular than resitting exams (26%) or taking a different route via apprenticeships (29%).

June Hughes, Registrar and Secretary at the University of Derby said: “The difficulty with newer courses is that the people who teenagers turn to for advice are favouring traditional subjects.

“The idea of a job for life is one that’s very rare, and we are now seeing people having many different careers between graduation and retirement.

“Employers need graduates who are work-ready – those who can step into a role with a solid understanding of how that business operates, and what it needs from them.

"At the University of Derby we are firm believers in real world learning. This means that many of our academic staff have relevant experience in industry, and we have modern state-of-the-art facilities which are built to the same standard as those found in the workplace, so students are experienced in using the best technology and equipment. We also have great links to industry, giving our students work placements and the opportunity to get involved in real projects for businesses.

“That’s not to say that the more traditional subjects are dead – far from it. We have many students who go on to great careers working in the Law, for example. It’s just that the opportunities are so more varied now that it’s important not to disregard anything, and choose something that you will truly love studying.”

The University of Derby is operating a Clearing Hotline on 01332 592016 which is taking calls now, and will be open for visits from tomorrow (August 18) onwards.