Money for nothing?

If we are going to ask students to pay tens of thousands of pounds for a degree then we need to have a proper debate about whether that degree is actually worth the investment. I loved my degree but was it worth £18,000?

On leaving Uni and spending my first year after graduating being rejected from every job I applied for – I realised that 3 years of study had in no way prepared me for the world of work. I had nothing that employers wanted in a potential recruit.

Graduates see unpaid internships as the only avenue into paid work and increasingly, employers see unpaid internships as the solution to staffing problems. If you can’t get a decent job with your degree how exactly can it pay itself back?

Clearly, a degree does not guarantee a high salary and success – I am sure many of your friends are testament to this. But then, back in the day going to university wasn’t a cold-hard economic decision.

Until we address the problem of graduate unemployment and the uncertainty in the job market, we cannot expect prospective students to saddle themselves with debts the size of mortgages.

When the metropolitan police force wants wannabee officers to work for free for 12 months before applying to entry level positions; when large numbers of graduate schemes have been axed; when a third of call centre workers are now graduates, you’ve got to wonder how reasonable it is to ratchet up fees for university students without even discussing how to make university a better investment.

For many graduate schemes a degree is a pre-requisite – but bar a piece of paper saying ‘2-1’ or ‘first’ how else has a degree prepared you for writing job applications?

Unpaid internships are already the preserve of those who can afford to work for free, live in London or have the right connections. Soon university won’t be that much different.

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1 Response to “Money for nothing?”


  1. 1 mart R 10/18/2010 at 9:08 am

    Couldn’t agree more with this…I am an older recent graduate
    who did get a 1:1 and it has made little difference. Unless you are connected and have friends in the right places or are already wealthy, then you have little chance of success.

    The only thing I wish to add is this, IMO a taboo subject that the press of politicians for many a year have not really debated or wished to make an agenda. Where are the jobs? It’s not a difficult question to ask is it. Simply where is future employment going to come from for anyone and not just the young?

    Perhaps the media don’t want to ask the question or are told not to ask the question for fear that it will tell us what we already suspect to be true. They don’t know and have no plans to address the situation. I fear this is a problem soon to be global, but seems particularly bad here as all we have are public service jobs (soon to go) and not much else. When retail stops hiring you know we’re in trouble.

    At least my degree cost me only £3,270 per year. Lucky me.

    And as for my course – if I am to pay more I want a larger student staff ratio and bloody qualified industry experts teaching me, not ex school teachers and the majority who have never done it!


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