Insights Report – Impact of COVID

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We asked students, parents, teachers, and principals, how much impact COVID-19 has had on them, and the results show that the students are more ok than we think.

In fact, from the data, it looks like students are less concerned than their parents or teachers.

Only 35% of students stated that COVID-19 has had a significant level of impact on their preparations for life after school, but 44% of parents, and a whopping 48% of teachers rated the impact as significant. 96% of parents and 93% of teachers felt that COVID-19 has had a mid-to-high level of impact on post-school preparations.

There was no world in which we were going to escape the implications of a global pandemic – across the board, not one student, parent or teacher reported that COVID-19 has had no impact at all on their post-school preparations. That being said, the level of impact reported correlates neatly with the amount of time each state had spent in lockdown. Respondents in NSW and Victoria were much more likely to report a mid-to-high level of impact, while those in Queensland and WA, which have spent very little time in lockdown, reported lower levels of impact.

It’s clear that students, parents, and teachers are aware of the impact of the pandemic, but the next question is how this has affected their plans. We collect anonymised data from all our student members who create a SWG profile (20,000 and counting) to understand how student intentions have changed we looked at data between 2019 and today. We expected to see a larger proportion of students interested in the traditionally ‘secure’ pathways, like education and healthcare, and more students deferring their transition into the workforce by going to university after school.

We found the opposite – while less students are considering healthcare, IT, and marketing, more students are interested in careers related to the environment and law.

Many of the worst-hit industries (aviation, the arts) haven’t moved at all, and while hospitality tanked in 2020 (no surprise there) it is now back to 2019 levels. We also looked at where students want to go when they leave school, and once again we were surprised.

Students in 2021 are more interested in going straight from school to work (up 9%), or from school to a gap year (up 12%), but are less interested in going to university (down 27% in 2020, up only 3% in 2021). The percentage of students interested in a VET qualification, apprenticeship, or traineeship has also increased (up 12%).

What does all this mean?

That we need to track the class of 2020 and 2021 to see how this data plays out. Student intentions are not student actions, and many students will follow different pathways than those they nominated in our data, but it’s clear that their thinking is starting to change as a result of the pandemic.

Download the Insights Report (PDF) here



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