Career opportunities

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 18 June 2014

Fewer than 40 per cent of students at Scotland’s best universities believe they will find work after graduating, with most expecting to go into postgraduate study.

The research, involving 18,000 students, also found that over half who were looking for a job in their final year of study had no idea what to do.

The stats are probably a reflection of the pessimism surrounding the economy, with youth unemployment in particular sitting at a record high. But, as demonstrated by the recent Wood Commission report, the route between education and work is still rocky.

Having gone on Jobseeker’s after graduating, I can confirm it is a nightmare.

The first doubts began to form in my mind upon meeting my advisor, Ranald, on my first day.

He gave me a shy smile, sat me down, and proceeded to silently fill out paperwork in front of me for twenty minutes – probably as a subtle reminder that he, at least, had a job.

My suspicions were then raised further when he claimed to have never heard of a BA.

He typed with one finger, on one hand, with a plodding solemnity I couldn't help but admire. Clearly a perfectionist, he was compelled to delete each sentence containing one spelling mistake and start again.

As time passed, I became increasingly disillusioned. If Ranald, obviously a man of fox-like cunning, couldn’t help me find a job, who could?

In the end I got an interview. Upon hearing the news, Ranald’s face switched from his usual look of wide-eyed panic to one of sly triumph. When I told him I had found out about the job through a friend, he rubbed his hands together and cackled like a Bond villain.

I got the impression he'd been waiting for this moment for a long time so I went along with it, doing my best to mimic his facial expression.

I got the job, but not through the job centre. In the two months I spent going in, they never once got me an interview.

I went to sign on, and became increasingly convinced that Ranald got more out of our meetings than I did.

Most young people who go to university were encouraged to apply – the outcome of a plan to send 50 per cent of school leavers into higher education. That there is a shortage of graduate jobs is not the fault of job-centre staff. But something must be done.

Maybe Sir Ian Wood should make an appointment with Ranald for inspiration.

 

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