`Hard sell' by colleges criticised

14th April 1995 at 01:00
Fiercely competitive marketing tactics by further education establishments are making it difficult for young people to make sensible decisions about their future, according to a report on school-leavers' destinations published this week by the careers service and the Association for County Councils and its metropolitan equivalent.

"The increasingly aggressive and competitive marketing by schools, colleges and training providers may not be in the best interests of young people, " said the report.

However, a spokesman for the ACC doubted whether there was any connection between this and the fact that 16-year-olds' enthusiasm for education and training after school seems to have been less marked in 1994. "The remarkable increase over the past few years was partly a product of youth unemployment. If the economy is picking up we may see a less constant increase."

The problem was, he said, that teenagers may be opting for college or sixth form for the wrong reasons or without the benefit of impartial advice: "There are some very hard sells being done. There is a feeling around that kids are not getting balanced information."

Statistics in the report show that the proportion of 16-year-olds staying on last year 68 per cent failed to increase for the first time after a decade of dramatic rises.

School Leavers' Destinations 1994, ACC Publications 66a Eaton Square London SW1W 9BH

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