Saturday, 22 January 2011


Nelli and I attended a meeting at the girls' school intended to explain to us the mysteries - miseries, more like - of higher education. I came out worried, perplexed and very sympathetic towards the young people of today.

In my day (the one of gas lamps and biplanes) university education was free. Okay, only half as many people entered university then but those that did sure as hell weren't faced by the pressures and worries of today's generation.

First of all there's money. To be blithely told that even with a student loan there will be a £4,000 pa shortfall is quite a straightener. At £6.00 per hour that's equivalent to 16 weeks of fulltime employment, which seems a little excessive for somebody who is meant to be studying for a degree. Despite what the government claims this must have an impact on kids' willingness to go for a degree...who wants a £50,000 debts around their necks? This is UNBELIEVABLY short-sighted by the government.

Then there was the news that most of the leading UK companies won't even interview graduates unless the applicant has attended one of their internships or work experience programmes. This means that kids have to decide what they will be doing with their working lives at the end of their first year in uni and to have selected which company they want to be doing it with. Ridiculous.

Finally, there was the news that to get on a leading MBA programme post-uni, the candidate had to have displayed 'entrepreneurial ability'.

So today's undergraduates have to find a way of supplementing the government's parsimony, shoulder a ludicrous amount of debt, work all through their holidays and still find time to set up a business.

No...being young in the Britain of 2011 ain't no fun. Poor sods.


  1. yeah, it's pretty grim here in the states. I'm a registered nurse and can't find a job. I've been an RN and still no luck. Most people have to move back home with their parents after graduation it's so bad. sigh. College was supposed to be a blast but now it's full of worry and hand wringing about one's future.

  2. Sorry to take so long to reply. It's tax time here in the UK...
    One of the real problems is that once upon a time when things were scruffy in the UK you could always look to the States and get a lift from their enthusiasm and optimism. Those days seem to be long gone. I'm trying to read a book at the mo' called 'Why The West Rules...For Now' and the prognosis for the US and Europe ain't good. It makes bloody depressing reading. Ho hum...