Work, full-time study or a training course? As young people juggle their options this week, new research warns universities and colleges of a looming "crisis" with post-16-year-olds beginning to turn away from full-time study as job opportunities improve.
Today record numbers of candidates for university places will be jamming the switchboards to see if they have secured one of a reduced number of higher education places.
But will the boom last? Staying-on rates among younger school-leavers are stalled. Employers, faced with skill shortages, are urging parents and students to consider work-based training rather than academic study. At least in the north it looks as if their advice is being taken.
Here and on page 3 The THES presents the facts and the arguments. On page 6 engineering employers have harsh things to say of college courses and, on pages 13 and 14, a parent, Brian Everett, and a vice chancellor, Mike Fitzgerald, argue that there has to be a better way to sort students out than each summer's clearing circus.