Monthly Archives: October 2011

Careers news: uni figures, temp conditions, rating degrees and careers advice

Here’s a quick gathering of recent news in the Careers field.

Firstly (unsurprisingly, in the year fees have rocketed up) the number of applicants to UCAS has fallen noticeably. Don’t get too excited – it’s not fallen by the amount youth unemployment has risen, and a degree’s not a meal ticket any more. Unsurprisingly, given that getting a degree will now cost you a quarter of the value of a house in some parts of the UK, students will increasingly see themselves as customers – which explains why Which has decided to starting rating and ranking uni courses in the UK.

However, note the rise of temporary / agency work. More and more jobs and companies are taking workers on only through agencies. This rather nasty trick is to ensure they don’t need to give them normal employment rights. Even when the EU has passed a law to give most normal employment rights to temporary workers, it turns out big companies like Tesco are asking their staff to waive their new rights – the implicit threat being no waive = no job. Don’t end up in agency work if you can avoid it. It’s slavery by another name.

At the other end of the scale, you might like to look at the Telegraph’s top ten best-paid jobs in the UK. It’s a bit of a nonsense because (a) it massively underestimates some at the top of the list, (b) it ignores self-employed in some of these fields, who tend to earn more, (c) it’s all about being “top” of the organisations they name which, whilst nice, is not a realistic aim generally – you should expect more to be a successful middle-ranker and check those typical salaries.

Lastly and definitely not leastly, it turns out that people like me are not totally useless after all – while there is an ongoing rise in online or telephone careers advice, it seems some people are missing the personal touch of a Careers advisor in their own school. Don’t forget to book a meeting to come and talk to me about your future if you like. You might like to tell the Guardian about what you think of careers advice.

Subject blogs

DBS subject teachers increasingly use subject-specific blogs to provide information to students (and parents who wish to see it.)

Scroll down the right-hand side to find links to a number of these.

ISCO / Futurewise evening

Thanks to all those who came to the ISCO / Futurewise evening the other night with Martin Minshall. (That link will take you to the website.)

To find out about signing up and payment arrangements, please see Miss Pennock.

If you weren’t able to attend but are interested – ISCO is a careers advice website with very, very in-depth resources and we recommend it to all KS4 students and up: click the link above to have a look around. A one-off fee is applicable but the support includes online and telephone support and advice right up to age 23. See Miss Pennock to sign up.

BBC3 “Up for hire”

The savvy may have noticed that BBC3 (with BBC Radio 1) are running something called “Up For Hire“, asking whether business takes young people seriously and gives them the chance they deserve.

Worth having a glance through if you’re interested in young people’s careers.

Confidence in your qualifications and the UK education system and economy

While we’re on the topic of positive thinking, you should avoid getting too down because this blog links you to a load of depressing articles about the future being bleak. If you’re well-qualified, you’ll find a way to do well. Try reading this TES article about a government review which found A-levels are as tough as any equivalent qualification worldwide.

By the same token, you might be interested in the New York Times’ rejection of the UK government’s insistence that everything is disaster in the real economy: they call it “self-inflicted misery”.

Whilst we need to be aware that the world economy is an increasingly difficult place – for both jobs / careers and also for business – don’t forget the international value of a British-style education. A-level is still, in many senses, the “gold standard” internationally.

An amazing future

Amidst all the current gloom, it’s eminently possible for us to forget the excitement inherent in the kind of amazing work done at universities. If you’re feeling like you’re wondering why bother, take a look at this list of major scientific projects being worked on in British universities right now.

Most of this work is graduate level and beyond, of course – but the point is: only by doing well, going on to university and getting involved with the brilliant people who work there will you have a chance to work in these rewarding (and well-paid?) fields.

International league tables for quality of schooling

Further to the 2 Million Minutes post, which I strongly encourage you to watch the video links from –

Thanks to Zara in year 13 who spotted this week’s BBC article about the rise of Shanghai to the top of the international league table in the global PISA rankings for quality of education. Well worth a read.