Ed Sheeran says young people should ‘chill’ if uncertain about higher education as he accepts honorary doctorate


Who needs university when Thailand sells beers for 15p?

Ed Sheeran gave a positive message to young people who are unsure about whether to go to university as he accepted an honorary doctorate.

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter said he encouraged young people who were uncertain about higher education to “chill” because many university leavers were in debt with unwanted degrees.

“I think we should encourage kids to chill a bit more. You don’t have to go to university at 18, you can go off and travel for a year,” he said.

“Thailand’s super cheap, you can get beers for like 15p. Just go and find yourself there. Hang out with people of a similar age and grow.”

Ed said young people faced “a lot of pressure” to go to university to achieve degrees they may not need as he received the degree from University Campus Suffolk (UCS) for his “outstanding contribution to music” since leaving school aged 16.

Addressing graduates at Ipswich town hall, Ed – watched on by his parents John and Imogen – said: “I’m not really the poster boy for education and I don’t know if I can give advice on that side of things.

“I chose something I love and worked hard at it and didn’t really listen to anyone who told me I couldn’t do something.

“There’s no key to success but the key to failure is trying to please everyone so make sure you please yourself.

“Choose something you love and work hard at it and you’ll be surprised how far you can get.”

Before the ceremony, Ed told the Press Association: “For a musician you need more life university, rather than studying anything.

“I think there is a lot of pressure among young people. I definitely found it at school.

“When I was at school it was pretty much like – you do your GCSEs, you do your A-levels, you go to university, you find a job, and then you find out what you want to do.

“That doesn’t always work out for everyone.”

“I don’t necessarily think university is what you have to do to get a job. I know that’s a weird thing to say coming to receive a doctorate but I think there’s a lot of pressure on kids to go to university, then a lot of them end up in debt with a degree they didn’t really need to get the job they want.

“There’s not going to be an Adele-style break. I’m not having kids, I’m not getting married. But I won’t be headlining Glastonbury.”

Ed, whose hits include Thinking Out Loud, Lego House and Sing, has become of one of the world’s biggest music stars after selling millions of copies of his albums + and x.

His debut concert film, Jumpers For Goalposts, which was filmed during three sell-out performances at Wembley Stadium in July, is to be shown in cinemas from Thursday.