Young Academic has learnt that competition for university places has intensified yet further whilst twenty per cent of current graduates remain unemployed. We have been bringing you student news throughout the year regarding the current plight of academics and graduates and the situation looks set to become grimmer yet.

Figures released by UCAS today show that a record 688,310 people have applied for university places this autumn but over 200,000 failed to land a place.  The high demand and tough competition meant that 188,697 (27.4%) of applicants were eligible for clearing but received no offers; did not meet the required grades; or applied too late while a further 18,081 disheartened individuals actually withdrew their applications.

As competition for university places heats up, coupled with the prospect of record levels of graduate unemployment, more and more young people will be looking into alternative options for employment and training.

Meanwhile, as the latest crop of graduates prepares to hit the jobs market, their prospects do not look any brighter with recent figures from the Office of National Statistics revealing record levels of unemployment in the 16-24 year old age group. In the past year, one in five graduates remained unemployed.

Commenting on the statistics, Liz Field, CEO of the FSP said, “Today’s figures reveal how increasingly young people will be looking at alternative options such as school leaver programmes and apprenticeships to get them work ready and onto the jobs ladder.  It is imperative for a myriad of stakeholders to collaborate together to meet the challenges presented by this problem and tap into the rich talent pool available.  It is the role of policy makers to be open to funding a variety of initiatives; the education sector needs to  work with employers to  prepare these individuals by developing ‘employability’  skills which are in high demand  and companies must create a structured and accessible programme to open up access to work.”

One of the highest sought after career paths for graduates are financial services. The Financial Skills Partnership (FSP) has been actively campaigning to convince employers on the benefits of increasing accessibility into their workplaces and embracing various initiatives such as apprenticeships to strengthen the talent pipeline for the sector. The FSP’s online ‘Directions’ career guide – with additional consultancy services – is also rapidly becoming the UK’s go-to resource for employment and careers advice on financial services.

Findings by High Fliers Research showed that there were 343,000 graduate job applications in the 2010-11 academic year, with financial services being top of the career list.  The Financial Skills Partnership works  with employers, professional institutes and careers advisers to inform young people of the myriad of opportunities available in the sector, most of which are ‘hidden professions’ and which offer rewarding careers..

Background Information Regarding the Financial Skills Partnership

‘FSP’ and the Financial Skills Partnership is the new name for the Financial Services Sector Skills Council.

It is the skills champion for finance, accountancy and financial services organisations to provide employer leadership to address skills needs within our sector and galvanise employer ambition and investment in skills.

Our new name better describes our organisation’s partnership working approach with stakeholders and employers and is fundamental to our culture.

The Financial Skills Partnership (FSP) is a strategic, impartial, employer-led organisation which aims to support employers in developing and retaining a skilled workforce in finance, accountancy and financial services across the nations and regions of the UK. It acts as a link between industry, government and education. It is also a UK-wide sector skills council, licensed by the Government to articulate the employers voice on skills and develop innovative skills solutions.

The FSP covers five main financial sub-sectors including accountancy and finance, banking and building societies (wholesale and retail), financial planning, insurance, wealth, investment management and pensions.

All five of these sectors have Sector Panels and there are 3 nations panels. The purpose of these is to provide strategic direction regarding the future demand for skills and prioritising for the sector or nation.

The FSP’s flagship product Directions is an online careers guide, with additional consultancy services aimed at informing people of the range of career options within the sector and helping employers attract diverse talent at all levels. For more details visit:

The FSP is one of a number of Sector Skills Councils.  Visit for more information.  SSCs are key strategic partners in creating the conditions for increased investment in skills.

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Remember, you can keep up to date with all of your UK student news as well as the brand new student fashion section and the Young Academic Ultimate Festival Guide all summer!




About Author

Charles Whitworth is the Editor of the Young Academic publications. Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 2008, Charles learnt his trade in newsrooms such as IPC Media and Sky. He has now developed as a top sports, music and current affairs journalist and has been printed in a range of publications including The Guardian. His interests include Cricket, Football, Rugby, Music and Current Affairs. Fresh from the editorship of Student Times he now takes the reins at Young Academic - the premier student news portal. Connect with me on Google+


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