According to the paper I’ve just finished reading, the UK is currently overrun with fresh-faced school leavers, all clutching their 9 A* A-Level results and fighting with 50 other over qualified graduates for the chance to work on the tills at Primark.
Students such as a 19 year old featured in the article, who was complaining that since taking his A-Levels last year he hasn’t been able to get any work. The reason being, he claimed, was because he didn’t have any experience for the jobs he was going on. And he couldn’t get the experience because he couldn’t get a job.
Now no doubt this annoying Catch 22 was true in his case, but recession or no recession, it’s always been this way. Not every employee wants to hire someone, just because they have slept through 3 years of lectures and downed 10 pints of Red Bull to cram for the right results at the last minute. This may seem unfair and frustrating to those at the bottom of the employment ladder, but if it makes them feel any better, it also works in reverse.
When an experienced person tries to re-enter or break into a new industry, despite them having years of knowledge to back up the bluster, many can’t even get a look in. For you may indeed have helped Nasa to launch the first shuttle, or performed open heart surgery on a pig, or run your own multi-million pound business empire, but if you haven’t got a first class degree and a diploma in advanced Tweeting, then you haven’t really got a hope in hell. Obviously it goes without saying you also need to be fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
Of course half the job requirements listed on any recruitment site are 90% wishful thinking. If someone were that qualified and had the experience to boot, then they wouldn’t be scouring the pages of Monster and offering to commute 5 hours for the minimum wage.
In Generation Y’s defense, it probably doesn’t help that the educational system has now been so badly dumbed down that obtaining a degree seems to be on much the same level as getting a gold star in your primary school spelling test. Everyone knows that GCSE’s and A Levels are easier. These days you’ll now be awarded 5 bonus points for spelling your name correctly on the exam paper and 10 points if you use at least 1 full stop. If your beloved budgie died from old age the day before, then your D will of course be upgraded to a B. On compassionate grounds don’t you see.
In the oldish days, your only excuse for missing an exam would be if you were caught under the wheels of a bus on the way to school. Upon the resit, you’d be marked down a grade for not having followed the highway code properly and looked both ways.
Of course no one taking exams these days would ever accept or admit that they are easier, but come on, how can they not be. There has to be some reason that all these kids who can’t talk properly, can’t text more than 3 letters and couldn’t pick out Africa on a map are somehow managing to get all these A* passes.
A great example of this Diploma’s for Dumbo mentality is a new cutting edge scheme that’s just been rolled out in the form of a ‘Using of Public Transport’ certificate – a prestigious award for those students who have completed the incredibly complicated task as catching a bus. I kid you not.
They must first walk to the bus stop. Once there, they must wait for the bus to arrive, board the bus quietly, find a seat, look out of the window and then finally stand up and step off the vehicle. Impressive I know. Who knew the youth of today was so intellectually advanced that they would be able to pull off such an impressive feat. Oh no, hang on on a minute, people have been doing this for years haven’t they.
Now I don’t want to make light of a terribly serious job situation, but here’s a thought as regards to why so many young people can’t get a job. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the stupid subjects and degrees they are taking. Subjects that are surely chosen for the fun factor and not to actually qualify them to do anything at the end. Take Hannah for example, also featured in the paper. Fresh from the hallowed halls of Southampton Solent University, she is the first person to have graduated from a laughing course, with a degree in stand-up comedy. Now isn’t that funny.
Since when was telling jokes on the list of choices at the school careers day? Surely someone is either funny or not, and if they are destined for a career under the bright lights, then they’d be able to do it without 3 years in the classroom and thousands of pounds worth of student debt to their name. Sure most forms of art, from music to drama to interior design are taught and studied, but stand-up comedy. Really?
So if you happen to be trying to decide which path you should take and don’t think that laughter’s really your thing, then not to worry. There’s always the option of spending 3 years studying how to surf, or better still, writing your thesis on the life, haircuts and marital affairs of David Beckham.
One final pointer for anyone hoping to get a job after school – try picking a subject that actually has a point to it. Or if you really can’t bear to study anything too serious, learn how to unblock a toilet. I mean, who ever heard of a poor or out of work plumber.