Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Graduate Scrap Heap

The Graduate Scrap Heap

I am in my first semester of final year of university and haven’t even graduated, and yet I am already feeling the heat of the graduate leftover pile. My original beliefs of starting early and getting on a graduate scheme ready for when I finish would lead me to be ‘all set’, have quickly been blown out the window. My original beliefs of those who had failed to find a job when they graduated were because they didn’t start early enough and didn’t apply to the schemes available to them, have changed. I now realise at how wrong I was and how difficult it has been for my friends and associates who have and some still are on that scrap heap of people affected by this devastating economy.

You begin university with so much optimism that if you go to university and get a good degree, you will finish and the doors will be all open. Today, you are lucky if you are even accepted by entry-level jobs, which may for some be rejected for being over qualified. Maybe the irony of the situation would be funny if it wasn’t so frustrating.

‘Go on a placement year’, they pushed. I did, and that seems to have pushed me further into an area of industry I want to stay away from. How is one supposed to actually get the correct amount of experience and a degree without starting at the bottom after spending the last 3-4 years getting a degree to avoid just that?

Maybe the rise in the university prices will at least be of some benefit to the last of those who are being charged £3000, as it may cut down the competition.

The graduate schemes themselves have gruelling application stages. To even get past the first stage of actually completing the application form seems to be difficult enough. An average time of 3-4 hours filling in an application to get an automatic response seconds after submitting it, informing you that you didn’t quite make the cut is always the worst.

Once you’ve got past the first stage you progress onto the second round of numeracy and verbal reasoning tests. The tests wouldn’t be so ridiculous if you didn’t have to answer 35 questions in 21 minutes, and didn’t have to spend at least two minutes a question trying to absorb the massive quantities of information you need to answer the question. I gave Angus the opportunity to try the practice questions, and even somebody who took A-level maths and uses maths frequently in his job found the questions challenging. And all this to apply for jobs which don’t even require that higher level of maths in the actual role, seems somewhat of a joke.

I haven’t as yet progressed to the 3rd round of the application process where you are invited to a day of tasks and challenges which probably make the BBC1 show ‘The Apprentice’ look like a stroll in the park.

It hurts when the one graduate scheme you dreamed of joining rejects you; but when the back-up schemes in retail inform you that you don’t have the sufficient experience for the scheme after working over six years in the customer service and retail industries; you begin to wonder what you are actually qualified for?

And so I retire in the hope, like everyone else, that it will all work out in the end; that I will find a graduate job eventually….

By David Hatton

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