We can't all be Managers
With the news today that Bishop Auckland College in County Durham is to start running "X Factor prep" courses http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21024663 you seriously have to wonder what our society is turning into. Everyone now wants to be a manager, nobody a worker and - hold on to your hats here - the biggest con any Government has pulled on our youth is to tell everyone they can go to University. News flash. Not everyone can or indeed should. Look at what course you can now do at University: BA in Fire and Rescue Services Management at Blackburn University; frankly I'm not sure what depresses me most, the course or the fact Blackburn has a University; Baking Technology Management at South Bank, London and perhaps my most worrying, Durham University, the ages old rock solid stalwart bastion of intellect offers a course within it's Education programme on Harry Potter. Seriously, Harry Potter..... I don't know where to start.
There was a time when the less academically able would have been snapped up to be an apprentice. "But the job's aren't there" you cry. Well if they're not there how come so many overseas workers seem to be able to find them. Not only that but a popular cry from people wanting to recruit in such areas is that people simply don't want a physical job. Indoctrinated to sitting on their backsides the PlayStation generation are now simply too posh to polish. Learn a trade and you've got it for life whether it be plumber, electrician or builder. Learn how to do a spreadsheet and well, there's a lot of people out there who can do a spreadsheet but not many that can put in a plug socket or mend a roof. Even window cleaners are thin on the ground and now rather than it being the bloke with the ladder and his young lad it's more likely to be a company franchise that rolls up ordered through a national website.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOCIETY????
I'll say it again. Not everyone should go to University and to feed people the line that everyone can go, especially with fees hitting the £9,000 for one year mark, is leading them lemming like into years or debt, possible unemployment and benefits. If the Government are so keen to get people off benefits why not invest more in an old style YOP scheme or more subsidised apprenticeships so they're not as rare as hen's teeth? I'm sure there are lots of people who leave school with no qualifications who would jump at the chance wouldn't they?
That is a moot point however. How anyone can leave school with no qualifications now is a mystery to me. I've seen graduates studying history amazed that the Holocaust was a real event; social studies students supposedly studying the sixties who don't know who Mary Quant is and, and this is a real favourite, health centre "Business Managers" who don't have any health background and have to ask people (a) how to use the fax and (b) what "'script" is short for in a doctor's surgery..... Words fail me..... There's a reason why many maths courses at University have closed and those that are there run remedial classes. When I did my first degree in my final year in 1997 we were handed a sheet of "how to....s" by one lecturer. Basic punctuation and spelling "there", "their" - that sort of thing. He was handing them out as he said he was fed up of correcting students. Needless to say us mature students were all appalled at this and therein lies the nub of the question. There are people going to university who simply are NOT academic but they have been fed the lie that they are. Yes they can get a degree albeit one that may or may not have been dumbed down but if they come up against "bright young thing" for a traineeship just who do you think will get it? The person who can barely write a coherent sentence or the literate multitasker? Then what happens? A dead end job in Starbucks with the prospect of promotion if they're lucky but more likely the dole or a call centre. All whilst saddled with debt. Do this and they aren't contributing much to the pot but give them a trade and they'd be in their element. Plus how much does a plumber charge? Do you think he's working for minimum wage answering phones at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday morning? No.
So isn't it about time we did the people at school a favour and told them the harsh truth that they might dream about being Beyonce but they're more than likely going to end up in Asda? Why not give them the choice to make an informed decision based on what THEY can achieve rather than what they're told to aim for? Then we might, just might, see people start getting their hands dirty again.