Research commissioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has revealed that 57% of young people between 14 and 21 years old are open to alternate paths rather than university when pursuing their careers.

The research, carried out by TNR in June 2017 with 2008 respondents, also revealed that 26% of young people value apprenticeships as a better option and 15% would choose other qualifications compared to the 43% that still think that university is the best path to start a career.

Of young people surveyed 47% rate confidence as the most important skill for success in business, compared to 36% who believe it is intelligence, followed by being a problems solver, this reflects the changing attitudes towards traditional forms of study, said the ACCA. However, the main motivation for career choice is enjoyment as 58% agreed that having an enjoyable career is the top priority. A fifth of respondents said that money was the most important career factor.

The ACCA highlighted that the recent general election has stressed concerns about the rising cost of university tuition and an uncertain job market. The ACCA said that young people seem more enthused by flexibility and security and they are starting their careers earlier.

ACCA’s director of professional education Reza Ali said that students often feel compelled to take the university path. “This path may not always be the best option for school leavers, due to the cost of going to university; a need to be at home or the need to work and earn a living. Traditional routes of success, such as going to university are still popular, but this doesn’t mean one should rule out other options such as apprenticeships or professional qualifications.”

Moracle managing director Morlai Kagbo said: “Young people and their parents, do not realise they can leave school, get a job, be paid and go on an apprenticeship programme, ending up with a professional qualification. I very much hope the ACCA Apprenticeship programme will continue to address this and make a difference. We are all in this together to create an apprenticeship system that works in a jobs market that is increasingly characterised by small firms and ensures all young people have access to high quality ‘earning and learning’ routes.”