Continuing enthusiasm for University & innovation

Enthusiasm for going to University is undimmed and the ambition to invent, innovate and start their own business is alive and well among Scottish teenagers, according to recent research by the University of Strathclyde’s entrepreneurial initiative, Strathclyde Inspire.

Inspire commissioned specialist research house, Censuswide, to interview 500 Scottish school pupils aged 15 -18, across a range of demographics. Censuswide also interviewed their parents or guardians to canvass their views and found similar levels of enthusiasm and optimism.    

Nearly two third of parents surveyed (64.8%) were confident or very confident that teenagers in the family who wanted to go to University would be helped to realise their full potential afterwards. Around a quarter of adults surveyed were unsure and only 2% were “very pessimistic”.

The survey was carried out in the latter stages of the pandemic-induced recession (late 2021) when many teenagers were still suffering disrupted schooling, self-isolation and mask-wearing but neither this, nor the prospect of student loans seemed to act as a counterweight to the prospect of going to University.

Nearly two thirds of parents (62.6%) expected those with a University education to go on to have a successful career. This was also mirrored by the pupils surveyed, of whom 64.8% anticipated a successful working career after graduation – though a quarter of those surveyed said they were unsure.

Natasha Lobley, Start-Up Adviser with Strathclyde Inspire, said; “Another positive aspect of the findings is how supportive the relationship between teenagers and their parents seems to be. More than 30% of the young people we asked said their parents or guardians actively encouraged them to think creatively and take time to consider their future career path.

“Constructive conversations are happening all over Scotland at the moment as pupils face life after school. There was divergence between the generations regarding self-employment however. Nearly half of the teenagers surveyed (48.2%) said they would consider starting their own business but only a third of adults were confident that this might be a viable option.

Strathclyde Inspire is part of the University’s ethos to preparing entrepreneurial minds and, while, not everyone will start a business, we view as a crucial part of the learning process that innovative minds are supported through every aspect of the benefits that entrepreneurship can bring.

Across the research, more than half of young people surveyed said they ultimately saw themselves either running their own company or working on a freelance basis, with only slightly more young people who identified as male willing to consider this route from the outset of their University Education, than those who identified as female.

Natasha Lobley added; “It’s been a tough couple of years for those completing their school education but at Strathclyde Inspire, we are massively reassured that young people and their supporters remain positive about their prospects; not least since it’s their enthusiasm and innovation which will drive positive change across society and the economy in years to come.”