A warm welcome to the seventh report in a series providing analysis and insight into the higher education journey of young London residents as they progress from 16-18 institutions into higher education and beyond. Read the report now on the London Councils website.

As with its predecessors, this report explores and discusses not only various aspects of achievement in HE but also provides a commentary on graduate employment in the context of higher education and employment opportunities in London.

Our report is launched amidst the impact of Covid-19 and the consequences of lockdown. This year, young people’s journey to HE have been a difficult one. Alongside personal tragedies, the effects of school closures, unique assessment arrangements, deferred university starts, and the weight of the exceptional circumstances we are living through will remain with us for some time. Even though the world in which we are publishing this report is truly different, we continued the job we started seven years ago so that the evidence this report presents can contribute, in a small way, to the vital work of recovery and renewal.

As far as possible we have tried to keep the structure and layout of this year’s report consistent with previous year’s to encourage on-going dialogue and an exploration of both the data and commentary across the series of reports. The two ever-present features of The Higher Education Journey of Young London Residents are first, the extensive use of a number of different quantitative data sources, notably the Higher Education Statistics Agency and the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education data, and second, the data commentary provided by the report’s authors which are included in all sections of the report. Together these two aspects provide the main structure for the report.

Data on the numbers of young residents progressing to higher education from London, and their characteristics, has always been of significant interest to London local authorities. One important reason for this is the watching brief boroughs have on widening participation and ensuring access to higher education is a reality for all young Londoners.

London has long been recognised as an area of high graduate employment in comparison to other regions. The projection of growth in the number of professional, managerial, associate professional and technical jobs, and the move towards a knowledge-based service economy can be seen in the employment figures explored in the Post-study destinations section of this report. When reflecting on the uncertainties facing the global labour market and the London economy, this section of the report, unlike its predecessor reports, is now a baseline rather than a predictor of trends.

As in previous years, this research was undertaken to contribute towards a better understanding of the pattern of participation in HE of young London residents, their achievement, and their and progression into employment or other destinations. Our hope is that the rich seam of data this report presents will also support the work of reimagining and renewing our city, making it a home for all the people of London.

Professor John Storan is FACE Chair and Director of Continuum, the Centre for Widening Participation Policy Studies at the University of East London 

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