Saturday, January 10, 2009

Help the graduates

With the value of degrees deteriorating, the government is launching a new scheme

Since higher education became a mass phenomenon, the plight of graduates was never going to grab the front pages. Middle class kids maxing out their credit card on pub crawls are neither tabloid material nor Polly Toynbee stuff. And yet the army of young people whose Law, History or English degree granted them an agency job at a call centre has simply been swelling up relentlessly. Which turned Tony Blair's u-turn on tuition fees even more irritating as he sold it to the public with the delusional notion that a degree grants you a headstart in life.

Except that degrees have become the equivalent of what GSCEs were to the previous generation. Not to mention the increasing number of graduates who have their application rejected on the grounds of being 'over qualified', or with 'expectations too high' and 'little hands-on experience'.

It looks like the Government has finally cottoned on. According to the Telegraph, a "National intern scheme to help graduates through the recession" has been announced, "in a bid to find posts for the 400,000 students due to graduate from universities this summer. The Guardian calls it "Generation crunch", referring to a recent labour market survey showing "unemployment growing fastest among 18-24-year-olds". "Unemployment for young adults was 597,000 in the three months to October 2008", they add, "up 55,000 from the three months to July 2008".

1 comment:

Ceri said...

Not sure about this- in general, its a pretty good idea; but as a response to recession, a waste of money.
Graduates are still largely young and disproportionately from wealthier backgrounds- they are not likely to find themselves in serious finacial trouble due to the recession. They are also much more able to travel, nationally and internationally, to find work. The kind of graduate who isn't the above is not likely to want or be able to take an internship on very little pay (just above student loan levels). Far better of spending money creating proper jobs or bailing people/businesses out.