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Dr Strangelove
9th May 2019 15:50:20
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My experience in higher education is that university provides you with a qualification to set you on a professional career. The university you attend will more than likely determine whether you are going for a practical, hands on career, or a profession such as law, academia etc. I went to university after being made redundant and obtained a degree in Physics. I went to work for an international company in which the career path was one which I did not want to pursue, so I left and completed a PhD. It was at this point when I realised that getting higher qualifications may not be the best thing to do. I found that I was too overqualified for the jobs I wanted to do, employers think that you will get bored and leave. I am now working in a university as a technician, which I am happy to do because it is very practical. The point I am trying to make is if you want to fly high, then go for the highest education you can achieve, if you are happy with doing practical work, then only achieve the level needed for the job, and maybe a bit more to give you an edge over rivals. I have 4 children and this is the advice I gave them. I personally think that apprenticeships maybe the way to go. I will add though that student numbers are dropping so in a few years it maybe worth looking at universities. However, I do work in a university so I need as many students as possible to keep my job ; )
8th Nov 2018 13:40:52
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Hello Sally,

If teenagers know what they want to do, then they should look into how to achieve it. Do they need a degree or not? Are there alternative routes -- can they train on the job, for instance? I've read of graduates taking non-graduate level jobs. This puts non-graduates at a disadvantage. Of course, if a school leaver chooses not to go to university straight after school and regrets it, he or she can still go later on. Their work experience may count for something when they finally get back into the jobs market.

So, in answer to your question -- it depends.
25th May 2016 13:18:59
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I have one daughter who is starting a funded PHd in September, (this is not a brag before I continue), she is academically minded and fascinated with her subject. She is also academically 'gifted' ( an awful word which is used in schools) which unless you embrace it could actually be a curse socially. She did not fit in with any of her peer group at University for her bachelors degree, aside from the international students and would have had a hard time if it were not for those friends. She is also teetotal and studied hard, to her the whole work ethic was vitally important.
Why am I telling you this? It is because it has become expected for young people to go to university, it has become a right of passage, which it should not be unless the young person is very devoted and very studious. They seem to need a first in most subjects , and in some , like the sciences they need further degrees including a masters in order to get a position and a job in their field. Some subjects require a PHd just for a research position. Unknown to most , they do also need some kind of work experience which is often omitted from a CV, this can be gleaned by volunteering work. This is saying that a degree alone is no guarantee of getting a job place, unless they stand out over and above every other candidate with a first degree .They also need to be pushy and happy to network with the best in their field and get themselves noticed to get on in academia. It is certainly NO easy ride. I can only speak of my daughter's experiences ,of course, in her subject field, at the moment she has a paid research assistant position before starting her PHd in September, but everything is SO competitive, she had to volunteer to get into her chosen lab before applying for her current (1 year contract) position and get noticed as being more than capable! That position also had 180+ applicants and she had to still go through the tough interview process.
On the other side of the coin, I have two grand daughters (out of 6 ) who are going into child care and catering and hospitality, they are also very happy with their choices and have very good prospects of employment (we always will need good food and childcare). They both go to college and have experience in the workplace too. They are not academic and struggled to get the GCSE's to go onto A level, all being said they could not wait to leave school.
My advice is, unless a young person is actually happy to work , write, study and go the extra mile, the whole concept of Uni is a waste of 3 long years and a long time paying off a huge debt to boot with often further degrees with further costs to get into a paid position.
Response from Wilf made on 8th Jan 2017 09:49:30
Good for your daughter doing a PHD. If kids are that smart they should try and get highest qualifications as possible as it seems now that every kid has a degree and all of them have travelled round the world etc etc so how can they differentiate themselves. A PHD is a good way to do it and it enriches society with these people
Response from MaryPoppins56 made on 24th Sep 2018 16:04:57
I agree completely with all your comments. I have a friend who did a Phd in English. He paid for it and his MA by working as a manager in Pizza Hut and doing hotel work. This was about 15 years ago. He has never managed to get a permanent contract at a university. He has had to do part-time teaching posts and also writes for a literary journal. At one point he was considering going back to working in hotels!!

Academic qualifications have been completely devalued in this country. I got a place on an MA twice but couldn't get funding so had to give up. I think that the government encourages people to go to university to get a first degree so they can say higher education is 'open to all'. Also, the myth that higher education guarantees you a 'good' job is alive an kicking. It doesn't.

I managed to get a job in libraries but didn't need a degree for it. This was 17 years ago. There were quite a few library staff who did have degrees. I was told that years ago, the only person with a degree would have been the librarians. The library assistants now do nearly everything that the librarian used to do, but in order to qualify as a librarian you have to have an MA in librarianship!! This could be acquired by 'on the job' training!
24th Sep 2018 15:41:58
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I went to university as a mature student before they charged for fees. This was right at the end of the grants so I was subsidised by half grant and half loan. I didn't have the confidence to go straight from school. If I had have done I would have had a full grant.

My experience of university was life changing. It did more for me personally than anything else in my adult life. I finally believed in what I was capable of. You cannot evaluate that in monetary terms.

Saying that,I wouldn't go to university now as the amount of debt would put me off.

I believe that the rot set in when they started treating education as a business and making a degree compulsory for nearly all professions. Teaching and nursing training was more than adequate for the rigours of these professions. Not everyone is suited for academia so money should be put into apprenticeships and vocational training as well. That should be valued as much as a university education. Subsequent governments have made a mess of higher education and have devalued degrees in the process. A degree now is viewed as O levels were when I left school in the 70s!!
9th Apr 2018 19:03:31
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A lot of the so-called students today act as though they still belong in the primary school playground. Not being bright enough or mature enough to obtain full time employment prior to university, all that's changed on leaving is their age.

Having spent the last three years partying, drinking and laying in bed, when they enter the real world the world of work, they seem to be under the impression employers should be lining up to offer them a top grade job.
Response from Lionel made on 9th Apr 2018 23:26:31
I think the underlying problem here is under Blair Polytechnics were regraded as universities.

Polytechnics gave a further education in a life skill, a trade or something else of practical use and value to the country. A means by which these people may earn a good living.

I have a friend who went to a poly and qualified as an electrician. Another as a plumber. By the houses they inhabit and the cars they drive they're well set.

To re-designate these establishments as universities and flood them with mediocre students who have no idea what they will doc after leaving is a crime against the nation.

I went to university, yes, London. They required three 'A' passes at A level before they would even interview me for a place. Getting a place at a major university then was not automatic, no, it was the resit of a rigorous process of interviews, tests and more interviews. I was put on a two year course for a BSc., in Geology and got it first time with honours. There was no time to lay in bed, drink at night or carouse in any other fashion. Nose to the grind stone all the time.

Little wonder young people coming out of university today can't get a good job, or even a job, because in my estimation they've just scraped by at what was one 'O' level. Their degrees are worthless. Well, that's what the workplace thinks.
Response from Catrina700 made on 15th Apr 2018 15:05:43
I entirely agree about the three A level requirement. When I was at school it was only the top 10% of a grammar school that achieved that, everyone else got themselves a job.

Today university seems to be an extension of school, a way to delay entering the real world and obtaining a job.

I can't see this being allowed to continue, when students living away from home can end up with £40,000 to £50,000 worth of debt and little employment prospect from it. Hardly value for money.

I know they don't have to start paying it back until they earn £25,000 a year but it's still accumulates interest. If they were ever in a position to apply for a mortgage this debt would go against them.

From the governments point of view it helps to keep the unemployment figures down. They can also make a big thing about everyone having the opportunity to go to university.

If most people spent that sort of money on a new BMW for example and ended up with a 10 year old MINI something would be done about it.
Response from Lionel made on 15th Apr 2018 17:09:57
'Today university seems to be an extension of school, a way to delay entering the real world and obtaining a job.' Yes, absolutely.. It began with Harold Wilson lifting the school leaving age from fifteen to sixteen in an employment crisis. It's now, I believe, 18.

Surely the point is leaving education with a saleable commodity, something an employer is prepared to pay for on the proviso the person works and justifies his salary.

I recall managing a pig unit near Thirsk North Yorkshire; one of the most productive in the UK. It was the early 80's and the Herriot legend was in full swing. Both Alf Wight and his son Jimmy served as our farm vets. Jimmy said, sitting on a bale of straw and drinking my coffee, there were about to be so many vets released from vet school and nowhere near enough jobs. That's because the films and the early TV adaptations glamourised the profession. (There's no glamour in working with animals. It's messy, smelly and can be very dangerous. I've done C-sections on heavily pregnant cows as well.)

Surely, all careers are a matter of demand and supply. Too much supply and the many will be on the dole, wasting a university education.

In respect of debt, students now have this in common with so many people. The entire nation, barring a few like my wife and I, owes money to someone. I'm not speaking of mortgages here but consumer credit. Whilst I'm no conspiracy theorist, that fact of debt does enslave the many who must work ever harder and longer to service the debt. A down turn i the economy does wonders to control people.

Although it's getting a bad report in the news these days I applaud the Open University. It takes dedication to succeed there and only the dedicated win through to a better career.
14th Mar 2018 10:46:43
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Often students graduate and find it difficult to obtain worthwhile employment because they weren't bright enough to be at university in the first place. These days universities are run like businesses and happy to take their fees from anyone foolish enough to pay them.

Living in a city with three universities where 48% of the houses are occupied by students it's not difficult to notice that not all students are there to be educated. Staying out until 3 AM and laying in bed until midday, puts education down the list of priorities.

Students are offered courses according to their abilities and entry qualifications. The less bright get offered lower grade courses. This gives them more time for partying and laying in bed as less time is required for studying. They end up with a worthless qualification that few employers are interested in.

The intelligent get offered a more intensive course where they attend more lectures and are expected to study in their spare time, and then some find it hard to keep up. Obviously they have less time for the social life but leave with a good degree that leads to worthwhile employment.

The first group would be better off finding themselves a job, but at a young age and away from home, partying and laying in bed would seem the better option.
Response from Lionel made on 14th Mar 2018 13:22:45
I could agree more. I have a step grandson who is 20. Taking his 'A' levels for the second time because he failed miserably. He plans to do a master's in History (we need another historian?) but that means he could be almost 30 before he gets a job!

Seems to me your assessment of so many students is spot on.
8th Jan 2017 09:46:46
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I think if they want to all kids should have the chance to go to University and I also thin it should be free. The only issue with this is that many kids used to just do any old course and doss about in it and now they have to pay it makes them think more about that decision
18th Nov 2016 12:55:05
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Asia teacher and all. Interesting, but I must say that I am appalled at way United Kingdom has been used + abused the last 40 years or so. So much wrong doing by successive governments, outside interference and waste. Eighty percent of a population used to do the the mainstream work that was, anyone who could be given the chance of University was lucky. Now we have a situation of many graduates and nowhere to go apart from some emigration. Not everyone wants to emigrate. Shame on those who have set up these ideas and run out of money to into the bargain, causing the situation we are all grumbling about. Why has it been left to 2016 for ordinary people to voice their discontent. We are only two small islands. I don't know where any of this will lead too in our islands and most of us have offspring that we leave behind.
Response from Lionel made on 18th Nov 2016 17:43:50
During the last forty odd years our parliamentary system has systematically, and I intend just that, systematically, failed British citizens. Our parliamentary democracy is nothing of the kind. It is a sham - merely puppets executing the will of Globalists and handing this country over to foreign princes.

In elections we do not get that for which we voted. Why? In the simplest terms, we are presented with one of three labels for whom we may vote. One blue, another red and the third yellow. Just like tins of beans on a supermarket shelf. We are led to believe the tin's contents are different but they are not. Same beans, same recipe, same factory. The real content of the tin is writ so small on the label as to be understood only by insiders.

Democracy? No, that's a term used by academicians and others hiding away from reality in state funded ivory towers. Those same ivory towers were hijacked years ago by untoward political factions pedalling their wares, poisoning the minds of British young people. I know, I was a university student. For what it's worth I have a First Class BSc from London.

So, Asia Teacher, please don't pedal any more of this nonsense about democracy. There is none here we may believe in. Nothing we may trust.

Are you employed by that state funded ivory tower, the LSE by any chance?
18th Nov 2016 15:11:04
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Without the ballbearings, the giant cogs would not be able to turn!
19th Aug 2016 08:04:10
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Having graduaread and post grad degrees and working in FE I see the pros and cons of higher ed. I did post grad P/T distance which was tough but it meant I could work and gain CPD qualifications. These days employers want employability which new graduates don't have unless they do an internship or similar often without remuneration. Not everone should go to uni some of the degrees areally worthless and others require academic mindset. My daughter owes £36000 and her sibling earns 1.5 times as much having on the job training with no debt. Simples!!
Nells Mum
25th May 2016 07:59:26
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My daughter is restarting another uni course having done a year on a course she did not enjoy. By the time she has finished she will owe about £56000 which is mad! Son did one year and did not enjoy so left and got a job. He has done really well for himself, but work now want him to do a MBA course, so uni will be on the cards again.
31st Jan 2016 16:46:46
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Talking to the younger generation at work, even they know that University Degrees mean nothing. Everyone has got one. PLUS depending on their extra-curricula activities (not University courses) many of their companions are getting higher paid jobs. Spending power depends on experience NOT University degrees. I agree.
6th Aug 2015 21:04:19
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I certainly would not do the degree I did - Modern Languages. Very hard work 36 hours of contact time each week and then the work to do at home from that. No credible job at the end and had to do a raft of prof qualifications in a financial field before I got a "graduate" job. Although fluent in 3 languages I have never used them in my work. Now English is the second language of the world so no point in learning other languages now. Kids are pushed into the wrong subjects by teachers who are really just into a bit of self preservation - do my subject and I keep my job for at least another year! Not good career planning.
Graduates come in all shapes and sizes these days. Some degrees are clearly not worth the paper they are written on - I've managed so called graduates who read the Sun, go to bingo are generally legless each weekend - not an intellectual brain cell amongst them. No doubt there are brighter offerings from certain other unis.
So I conclude that many "graduates" would be better off in jobs at 18. Many other would be graduates would be better getting a job with professional training and doing a degree part-time at home when that is all done with so graduating at 24 rather than 21. So no debt and a job to boot.
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