Home » Education Technology » Better tech and better decisions lead to better futures for students
Future of Education Technology Q1 2023

Better tech and better decisions lead to better futures for students

iStock / Getty Images Plus / monkeybusinessimages

Clare Marchant


Career education has, for some, been the outlier, serving the most tech-savvy users in often low-tech ways. For the benefit of students, the sector and the job market, this needs to change.

Hyper-personalisation and masses of behavioural data now drive our everyday life. Netflix finds new shows, Amazon serves us products for our multiple needs, and we’re all but putty in the hands of TikTok’s algorithm.

So why, in 2023, should young people — who live more in this world than any of us — experience a difficult, manual and labour-intensive process to discover post-18 options, particularly if it isn’t the traditional undergraduate degree route? We are changing this with new digital solutions to help drive better decisions.

Examining all options

In 2019, we launched the UCAS Hub — a personalised, private and productive place for students to carry out and save their research. Each year, more than 1.5 million students use it; by reading and pinning articles, bookmarking courses and saving city guides or accommodation options. The Hub also actively recommends resources to them, based on what they’ve been reading, watching and liking.

While UCAS has always been known for admissions to undergraduate degrees, our driving is parity; all post-secondary options side-by-side. Later this year, for the first time, apprenticeships will be presented alongside traditional degrees — a game-changer for students and teachers alike.

Presenting students with all their choices in one place will not only transform the apprenticeship offering but create real parity by putting these options side-by-side with undergraduate courses. The Hub will show students the different routes into a single career destination; meaning if a student is interested in engineering, for example, they will see the undergraduate and apprenticeship routes displayed side-by-side.

Effective decision-making

With so many students making decisions on soft factors — like peer recommendations or parent approval — important choices can sometimes be made without the full picture. That’s why we combine this information with other data — like our Career Quiz which shows the number of vacancies in different careers, salary information and predictions on how this area will grow in the future.

Given that decisions made about higher education are likely to influence future careers and working lives, we need to equip young people and mature applicants with the tools to make them properly now.

Higher education and the labour market are generally blessed with an extraordinary amount of data, within which lies the answers to most of our biggest challenges. If we can be more tech-savvy in our thinking, we can build an environment to improve the lives of students, providers, employers and the entire UK economy.

UCAS is an independent charity working across the UK and globally. Students are at the heart of everything we do.

Next article