Families Have Greatest Influence On Teenagers’ Decisions About Their Future

Wednesday 30th May 2018

Families have the greatest influence on the decisions that South Yorkshire teenagers make about their future, according to a new report launched today – Wednesday, May 30th 2018.

New research based on responses from 10,037 young people aged 13 to 19-years-old at 38 schools and colleges in the region overwhelmingly indicates that family is pivotal in shaping aspirations and attitudes.

The Higher Education Progression Partnership South Yorkshire Plus (HeppSY+) report reveals that two-thirds (66%) of young people say their family has the greatest influence on their decisions about what to do after completing their studies. This compares to friends (6%) teachers (6%) and careers advisers (3%).

A large proportion (20%) of respondents also said that they themselves have the greatest influence on their decisions. Although friends are not considered by the majority of young people to influence their decisions, 63% stated they had spoken to them about what to do.

The report was unveiled at a HeppSY+ event held at the University of Sheffield today, May 30th, due to be attended by around 80 delegates including academics and practitioners.

Mike Garnock-Jones, Director, Higher Education Progression Partnership, said: “Our research shows the powerful impact that families have on the aspirations of young people and, therefore, how important it is to ensure parents and carers have up-to-date, accurate and impartial information. It’s fantastic to see that the majority of young people surveyed in South Yorkshire are ambitious and aspirational about their future.”

He added: “Our campaign aims to reach those young people who are not so confident and unlock the talent of students who might not have otherwise gone on to study a degree at college, university or as part of an apprenticeship to boost their career and life prospects. It’s not just about gaining a degree – going to college or university is a life changing experience and we provide impartial advice about that.”

The HeppSY+ surveyed 10,037 students in 32 secondary schools and six colleges in South Yorkshire. Other key findings in the report include:

The definition of higher education includes degree level courses at further education colleges and universities, in addition to higher and degree level apprenticeships, and the research was completed between October 2017 and January 2018.

HeppSY+ is running an ongoing campaign to double the number of young people going on to degree level courses and apprenticeships at further education colleges and universities in 45 target electoral wards in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, North East Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire.

The campaign involves a range of activities including outreach from the HeppSY+ graduate intern team, who provide information about higher education courses at college and university. The team comprises graduates from a broad range of backgrounds who talk about their own experience of university as well as other issues such as how to apply and student finance.

The team deliver talks and workshops to teenagers on board the HeppSY+ double-decker bus, a mobile classroom that tours the region and has a suite of laptop computers on the top deck and an informal meeting room at ground level. Activities that take place on board the bus include question and answer sessions, quizzes and presentations about higher education. There is also the opportunity to search for courses online.