Careers advice and guidance inquiry

21 January 2016

Russell Group universities are committed to ensuring their doors are wide open to talented and able students from all backgrounds. However, currently too few students from disadvantaged backgrounds even apply to leading universities and many are not achieving the right grades in the right subjects when they are at school.

Whilst significant progress has been made, it is still the case that nearly twice as many advantaged as disadvantaged bright students are taking the A-level subjects most often required for entry to Russell Group universities. It is clear more must be done to ensure every individual with aspirations towards studying at a competitive university is made aware of all aspects of the entrance requirements. Russell Group universities already make a significant contribution to tackling this issue, both collaboratively and as individual institutions.

Russell Group universities create the optimum environment for students to develop a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers, and as a result our graduates are some of the most sought-after in the world. Our universities now go further than ever in ensuring students are as ‘work-ready’ as possible via a range of career-specific support initiatives.

However, while universities can and do play an important role in supporting students, particularly those from less advantaged backgrounds, into higher education and then into the world of work, there is a limit to the impact our institutions can have. Our efforts to support progression into leading universities and beyond must be mirrored by work in schools. Without continued efforts to provide high quality information, advice and guidance to all pupils from an early stage, and to improve attainment and aspirations, the key barriers to widening participation at leading universities will persist.

Evidence to the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy inquiry on careers advice, information and guidance

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