Youngsters fall behind in qualifications race

YOUNG people in East Anglia are falling behind the rest of the country when it comes to getting a degree, new figures reveal.

Hollie-Rae Merrick

YOUNG people in East Anglia are falling behind the rest of the country when it comes to getting a degree, new figures reveal.

Ipswich was shown to be the best in the region for degrees, with a ranking of 307 out of 628 parliamentary constituencies from across the country.

However, figures show that one in eight young people in the town are without qualifications.

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Ipswich MP Chris Mole said: “This reflects the exact reasons why we fought to establish University Campus Suffolk.

“There has always been a lack of young people in the area progressing through higher education and a lack of people remaining within the region to study for degrees.

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“I would hope to see an improvement in these figures as the university expands its offers and more pupils in the area realise the importance of a degree for necessary progression in their careers.”

Ipswich was closely followed by the North Essex region which ranked 351st and where one in eight young people are without any qualifications.

According to the study, the top place in England is Richmond Park in south-west London where over 64 per cent of the population is educated to degree level and beyond.

Waveney and Great Yarmouth ranked within the bottom 150 constituencies, with one in five youngsters not obtaining degrees.

The constituencies of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds lead the way locally for the highest percentage without any qualifications.

The figures reveal that one in seven adults in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich region and one in six adults in Bury St Edmunds do not have qualifications - placing them 407th and 476th nationally.

Revealed by the Universities and Colleges Union, the figures show how far Suffolk lags behind other counties in the race to improve the skills of young people.

Polly Bridgman, head of marketing at University Campus Suffolk, said: “UCS was originally developed to reduce the 'brain drain' of young people from Suffolk and Great Yarmouth and to raise the aspirations of local people and to encourage them to go on to higher education.

“Student numbers have risen over the last two years, with a large percentage of the student population still coming from the local area.

“We will continue to work with the local community on a number of initiatives to raise aspirations further.”

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