Young people are forever being told that “your education will be the ticket to your employment!” but in reality… it’s more being directed towards the general vicinity of the bus station.
In a world where it’s considered faux pas to answer “yes” when asked “Do you want my last Rolo?” it’s alarming how many people will readily walk up to the nearest graduate or job seeker, pick up their last shred of self-esteem and dunk it in their tea until it disintegrates into soggy solitary islands of biscuits bobbing around, unwanted and unwelcome.
Today’s youth has spent years chasing qualifications no one ever asks about. The notion that algebra would ever be useful seemed fishy, but the grownups insisted: education, no matter how apparently arbitrary, leads to jobs.
But the minute we graduated, something magical happened in employers’ heads. The same generation, I might add, who had them sit SATS and mock GCSEs and real GCSEs and AS-levels and A-levels and BAs and MAs and MScs and PhDs decided education might ‘not’ be the most important aspect after all.” Experience is what’s really important.” But guess what…? No one has that because they have been too busy pretending Romeo and Juliet weren’t just horny teenagers and Pythagoras wasn’t the most tedious bastard that ever existed.
Everybody knows many entry-level positions are now filled with cycles of young people on work experience, that underemployment is masked by placements or internships and an unprecedented number of jobs created are part-time. So telling the youth of today, “Get a job” is perhaps not what they want to hear. “Do you think you are too good for a job at Greggs?” Graduates expect too much. Surely there must be some middle ground from the motivational talks and inspirational ideologies given to us at High School and College? “You can do anything!”, “Be the Best!” (sorry that was the army wasn’t it?… but the sentiment remains the same!) and the comparatively heart breaking realisation that all those dreams of your future were, well, exactly that. Dreams.
“Applying for Asda? But you have a degree!”
Damned if you do, job snob if you don’t. And thanks for bringing to everyone’s attention how you have spent thousands of pounds to beg someone to let you organise their freezers. And don’t forget, your parents and teachers asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, then demanded a ransom of education, grades, experience and a thoroughly charming interview manner. You have done what was asked, society! Release the jobs!
“Have you tried doing a placement?”
Yes, one did partake in a few rounds of “Who can earn the least for the longest?” before remembering you had to fund your expensive habit of paying for things!
“Do something fun with all that free time!”
Free time? When your life is a cycle of applying for jobs, watching YouTube and crying into sponges, how much free time is left?
Something HAS to give. Something, some process or some system HAS to change to allow these expensively amassed graduates a chance. Is it simply the case that coming out of university with your nicely laminated CV and decent grades are just not what employers want? Or that they don’t think you can do the job required? I doubt this very much. They were, most likely, graduates themselves! (Although maybe their ‘free’ higher education counted for more). Or is it possible, that they simply don’t know? That they cannot tell from your nicely laminated CV in ‘Times New Roman’ font, (*shudders down spine*) that you are indeed better than the bloke who’s been brewing up for the past year? That you are actually a trustworthy, reliable and dare I say it hilarious guy who they would want to ‘go for a pint with’. After all how can this transcend through a shiny piece of paper with the digits 2:1 typed in bold several times on it. Per chance it isn’t solely ‘Experience’ that the employers are championing, but maybe personality too? It is a novel concept but people like to work with people they like AS WELL as someone who is declared sufficiently competent wearing a cap and gown.
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