Are Graduates Being Sold Down the River?

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I watched a report on TV tonight about youth unemployment. It had some resonance with me because it featured Morrisons and its search for a person to work in one of its bakery departments. They had 250 applicants and for the sake of the program they whittled it down to 3 young guys to interview. One was a graduate in animation and was probably highly skilled in this field, but such was his desperation he was after any job he could get to pay off his student loan. Apparently there were a number of graduates that had applied for the supermarket and were unsuccessful.

I spent 3 years working at Morrisons when I was in sixth form. They used to employ lots of school kids and had the great advantage of being able to watch for new talent to emerge to put onto their management trainee schemes. In those days there was a lot more flexibility in hiring and firing.

On the programme tonight, some high profile entrepreneurs, Alan Sugar amongst them gave some advice. Have the right attitude, be enthusiastic and be persistent.

I have thought for a long time that the government have spent too much time and effort into making every type of college into a university. Every course seems to end up with people getting degrees and having graduation ceremonies. As an employer it can be difficult to distinguish between them all. Graduates usually arrive with massive student loans and for some jobs they are too over qualified and are expecting too high a salary.

I have recently taken on two graduates and have really high hopes for both of them. What I did find heart breaking was to let down the other 4 that I had shortlisted. One had graduated 2 years ago and although was working, they were doing a totally unrelated job to that of their qualification.

I was really impressed by the girl on the program who worked for nothing to gain some experience and finally came to the conclusion that the route of self employment was her way out.

My own bit of advice – prepare for interviews, research the company, try to find out who is going to interview you and do more research. You have to come across as really really enthusiastic. You need to stand out against the other applicants.

There are other routes to getting a degree, be flexible in your approach.

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