Tuesday, 23 June 2015
A new report states that while STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates are generally satisfied by the value-for-money of their degree, students studying other subjects such as those lumped into the general headings of ‘the arts’ or ‘social sciences’ are rather less happy that they have forked out £27,000-plus to get a Masters in finger painting… and even less happy when they realise that with such a qualification their entire career path is going to have to involve dealing with children, who they have belatedly realised are not actually ‘the future’ but are, in fact, just a pain in the arse.
So much for Tony Blair’s all-must-have-prizes culture; when everybody gets a degree, degrees in general are worthless. If the intention was to sell the true potential of youngsters down the river than I’d say mission accomplished. The real career prospects for many graduates today is not great. Twenty-one/twenty-two/twenty-three years old and the only worthwhile thing they have on their CV is the nebulous ‘retail’. Which in most cases means ‘shop assistant’.
And what is it with CVs? Children at school produce these meaningless lie-sheets when they have nothing yet to lie about. And then they mass-mail them to employers who are only interested in them turning up, keeping their gobs shut and getting on with the job. You don’t need a CV to wait on tables, work in a store, stack shelves, drive deliveries or work on a building site. What you need is a work ethic, some ambition and an ability to not be so up yourself. They say the job of a CV is to get you an interview, so I guess the thinking around degrees must be to have something to put on your CV…
Meanwhile the job specification writers are being no less inventive in pursuing their side of the arms race that the world of jobs and jobbing is engaged in. Where once somebody with the requisite paperwork would have phoned the number on the small ad which declared ‘Drivers wanted – must have clean licence’ and been asked when they could start. Now they have to join the circus to provide national newspapers with headlines that read ‘1000 applicants submit CVs for one paper round job’. The smart guy should have just driven there and knocked on the door declaring himself ready and willing.
It’s all part of a wider malaise which the proliferation of worthless qualifications introduces. Once, the world was your oyster with good grades in principal subjects at school opening the door to a wide range of career possibilities. But turning the education handle and churning out rows of neatly packaged, ever more specific degree-educated clones with no clue about the real world of work condemns many to a miserable future in a narrow employment corridor from which the only escape is yet more expensive education.
Would you employ these graduates?
Almost every job available to the masses – outside of boffins, geniuses and the rarefied world of rare skills such as pioneering surgeons, premiership footballers and a handful of charismatic entertainers – requires only basic education to a good standard and the rest can and should be learned on the job. Training and experience, not pieces of paper, is what makes people employable. So if you have a Mickey Mouse degree from a Looney Toons ‘university’ and you’re languishing on Jobseeker’s Allowance, blame the goofy world of socialism. That’s all folks!