Johnson: Too many university graduates end up with degrees that don't get them the jobs

Sophia Sleigh
·2-min read

Boris Johnson today said there are too many university graduates with degrees that do not get them the jobs they want.

He made the comments during a speech about skills in Exeter as he pledged to end the “pointless, nonsensical gulf” between the “so-called academic and so-called practical varieties” of education.

Mr Johnson promised to give every adult without an A-level free college courses as well as expanding the ability to get student loans.

The Prime Minister said there was a growing number of university graduates who were questioning their education choices, adding: “I don’t for a second want to blame our universities. I love our universities.

“But we also need to recognise that a significant and growing minority of young people leave university and work in a non-graduate job and end up wondering whether they did the right thing.

“Was it sensible to rack up that debt on that degree?

“Were they ever given a choice to look at the more practical options, the courses just as stimulating that lead more directly to well-paid jobs?

"We seem on the one hand to have too few of the right skills for the jobs our economy creates and on the other hand too many graduates with degrees that don't get them the jobs that they want."


He also said: “Now is the time to end the pompous, snooty and frankly vacuous distinction between the practical and the academic.”

The Prime Minister said the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the "shortcomings" of the UK's educational system and pledged to ensure there was "life-long" skills retraining opportunities.

He said there is a shortage of UK-trained lab technicians as well as skilled construction workers, mechanics and engineers. He added: "We're short of hundreds of thousands of IT experts."

He also said there was a shortage of "crucial skills" in the UK and a too heavy reliance on foreign workers for skilled and technical roles.

The PM pledged to change the funding model so that it will be just as easy to get a student loan to do a year of electrical engineering at an further education college as it is to get a loan to do a three-year degree in politics, philosophy and economics.

He also confirmed plans to expand "digital boot camps" where IT skills can be learned and a new promise from April for adults to go on technical courses.

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned: "I cannot save every business, I cannot save every job.