back to article Employers call for end to Mickey Mouse degrees

A recruiters group is calling for an end to government targets to get 50 per cent of school leavers involved in higher education. It claims the views represent its 750 members who between them hire 30,000 graduates a year. The recruiters said that aiming to get half of under-30s into higher education has driven down standards …

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  1. Inachu
    Pint

    Nice report!

    I used to work in IT at a bank that has offices all around the world and workign at the main HQ

    I had people from IT who have 3 to 5 certification from Microsoft and Linux always come up to me askign me things and I get this look on my face.....Like..

    Hey wait... I am the one who is self taught with no certifications at all not even an A+ cert and

    I get all these wankers comming to me all the darn time asking me for pc,network,OS issues and support.

    Really now. I am sick of it! Besides it proves that these tests they take prove nothing!

  2. Arnold Lieberman
    Thumb Down

    Tuition Fees

    Ending the caps is all very well for the poor and the rich, but what about those of us who are in the middle? Social engineering is already rampant - one friend's daughter was not allowed to go to an open day at Cambridge because she is not in receipt of the £30/week bribe that the government gives to disadvantaged pupils. Doesn't seem to matter that she's a straight-A* student, instead they are dropping the entry requirements to C grades for certain groups, just what we need for our future doctors/vets...

    1. Shig
      FAIL

      re : Tuition Fees

      They have A* grade at A-level now!? Christ the education system's getting bad.

      1. BigRedS
        FAIL

        No, A* at GCSE

        If she's going to uni open days, she's probably not sat her A-Levels yet, and might not have sat her ASs.

        Most universities take GCSEs into account, now that you can't tell much about a student from their A-level grades.

      2. Guy Herbert
        Badgers

        @ Shig 14:01

        Well, some of us - even losers without proper degrees - are old enough to have done 'S-levels'. Good thing we are getting so old that early-onset Alzheimers is wiping the fact they existed from living memory, or we would have the fatuous Ed Balls (who is just too young for his traditional public school to have pushed him through them on the way to Oxford) popping up on TV to tell us that A* is both fully equivalent to the old Special Papers and 'accessible' to small dogs and household plants.

    2. Pete 2

      Intelligent behaviour!

      It sounds like all these people had found a way to get their work done much more easily - ask you to do it. We've all been in the position of being flattered when people ask us to help them. However after a while the nice warm feeling you have from being known as "the guy" starts to pall. It's truly surprising how many of these requests disappear as soon as you ask the asker to do even the most trivial task: such as documenting what they've done so far. Most of the rest can be deflected by responding "certainly, I'll help you - but where are you taking me for lunch, first?", or that old favourite of asking for their cost code.

      If you want a job done, give it to a busy person

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Megaphone

        Lunch?

        "Most of the rest can be deflected by responding "certainly, I'll help you - but where are you taking me for lunch, first?"

        Not likely I don't want to sit there and be bored to death by how they can't do something trivial.

        Self taught = yes

        Degree = yes but in a relevant subject. Hint: ! (Art History || Media Studies)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Another wasteful change

    "It called for an end to the degree classification system and the supports the introduction of Higher Education Achievement Report - which has already been trialled at 18 universities and should go nationwide next year. This gives graduates a report card which includes existing degree classifications as well as more information on modules taken and extra-curricular activities."

    Great, just like the "Record of Achievement" I got from high school which employers didn't give a damn about. How about employers stop whining and decide which subjects they accept. If you want a programmer, then only interview people with computing degrees, don't bother with people with degrees in sociology.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    here's a radical idea...

    ...instead of putting the blame on Universities and hiking up fees, take some responsibilty yourselves.

    Don't advertise job as "Degree level" and take on some twat with a degree in French Media and Jazz recital" for a job in IT.

    If there are people taking stupid degrees and employers stop employing them, they they will fade out.

    One of our sales departments boasted that they took on degree applicants, most couldn't write their own f**king name let alone show any sort of sales skills.

    Get the right people for the job, regardless of a bit of paper.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: right people for the job

      Oh, so true it hurts.

      When I was out of work last year, I would apply for jobs I could do with my eyes shut and one hand tied behind by back, yet was consistently overlooked for jobs due to the fact I have no formal degree qualifications. Thirteen years constant, practical experience covering a wide range of app support, tech support, ops and development exposure meant nothing because I didn't have a degree - any degree. Tell me, what would I have learnt had I have taken a BSc (hons.) in Practical Psychological Impact of iPhone Fart Apps in Modern Society that could be more useful to an employer than thirteen years solid experience of using SQL (or some other skill) as stated by the job description?

      Morons, I hope you choke on your retarded hoodie graduates.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Unhappy

        RE: Re: right people for the job

        I sympathise but the problem is usually not the actual person that's going to employ the recruit, it's the gormless HR people that do the adverts and the selection. I get really frustrated when I see jobs I need filled advertised as "graduate-level". I know that there are plenty of people that could do the job but their applications will be binned because some know-nothing HR drone has decided you need a degree just because it's a certain paygrade. I once interviewed eight graduates put forward by HR for a sysadmin role and found all to be unsuitable, only to find HR had binned an application from an experienced admin because he had no A-levels.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re:RE: Re: right people for the job

          You're right, of course - my vitriol is not aimed towards the people who actually want applicants who can do the job, but towards the HR/Recruitment morons who think you can't do any kind of job unless you have a bit of paper saying you spent three years or more at a university.

        2. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Re: oh I can't be arsed with the Re:s I'll just hit "reply"

          Some years back I met a headhunter over lunch. In conversation I asked him what he'd done before going into the business. It turned out he'd been an IT development manager for <a big four bank>.

          I asked why he'd dumped that in favour of headhunting. He replied that in his previous job all candidates were pre-selected by HR before he ever got to see them. This meant an intial CV-weeding-out process on qualifications followed by an HR interview. One of the more heavily weighted questions asked there was "How do you see your career progressing within <a big four bank>?"

          He'd decided that advising IT professionals on the best way of lying through their teeth to HR droids was a far more valuable contribution to the industry than trying to educate junior bank manager material in the intricacies of COBOL.

  5. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Grenade

    How many of them have degrees

    Recruitment people are worse than estate agents, they cold call...

  6. Rod MacLean
    Boffin

    Degrees

    I remember a joke that was doing the rounds when I was a student:

    Q: What do arts students say after they graduate?

    A: Do you want fries with that?

    These day you can get degrees in things like "BA in nose picking" and "BSc in scratching own arse", so I'm not really surprised that they're considered "mickey mouse". It's because they're completely pointless and valueless!

  7. Neur0mancer
    Heart

    Oh Great

    Who's the leader of the club

    That's made for you and me?

    M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

    1. Christopher Rogers
      WTF?

      Bitter much?

      Take it you didn't do uni....

  8. PTR
    Thumb Up

    At last!

    It was always a rediculous idea to have 50% of young people going to Uni.

    The whole point in a University degree was to allow for the brightest students to prove their abilities - but over the years things have been dumbed down so much that 1 in 2 people are capable of doing them.

    So then, the elite 10% end up spending another year doing a Masters, or even 3 doing a PhD just to separate themselves from the pile.

  9. Shinobi87
    Flame

    hmm

    Some bits I agree some I don’t.

    My Degree was abit watered down which is a terrible shame consider the amount of money I paid for it, It wasn't technical enough and thus left a lot of my fellow Graduates Frustrated at the lack of education compared to the costs! I agree too many people go to uni and do stupid degrees; one of my mates did "American Studies" which he admits is totally micky mouse. But ramping up costs isn’t really an answer is it. Its a recession people cant really afford things, expecting people to chuck money towards degree's isn’t going to happen. Maybe the answer is simply to make degrees more worth while by improving the value of the teaching, and/or make hybrid courses that allow you to study Industry certifications as part of the degree (eg. computing studies with an MCSA/E). Also for a lot of courses I ensure there are placements as It’s incredibly important to gain practical skills. However I wouldn’t charge 1/2the cost of a years tuition for this (as in my case my tutor came out twice for a total of 1 hour the university took 700quid, students the year after were meant to pay roughly 1500 for this which explains why 90% skipped the placement year

  10. Daniel Garcia 2
    Flame

    they are snobs nurtured in cotton beds.

    "The recruiters also want an end to caps on tuition fees, but this should happen in stages and safeguards put in place for disadvantaged students. Parents and students should be encouraged to save for a university education"

    first they bitched about mickeys degree ( i agree with most of their critics) and then that little gem appears out of no where.

    actually degrees should be as hard as F''k and free of charge if you are targeting to transform them in undeniable proof of knowledge and skill and nothing else.

    no, these (rich?)guys want to reduce the number of people with bad\"poor" degrees but at same time have the premium buy option for their sons and daughters.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Another crew of muppets

    Hmm so too many graduates being produced but they are crying about not being able to bring in people from overseas.

    So the truth of the matter is "we don't like you poor smelly Brits who actually want a living wage" instead they prefer to bring in staff from overseas with dodgy degrees who they can recruit for the minimum wage, despite their total lack of competence and total lack of English language abilities.

    So the latest scheme seems to be "price Brits out of universities so we can then claim there is a shortage of graduates and make piles of cash bringing in Indian and Chinese grads on the cheap"

    Sounds just like the CBI and certain Tory party members to be honest.........

    How about instead no foreign graduate places, a requirement to train British candidates for the position before being allowed to apply to bring in Non EU workers (we have probably 4 million unemployed so plenty of people who could and would willingly do the work if given the opportunity.)

    But again the government (of either shade) will cave to these special interest groups or simply tinker around the edges instead of properly dealing with the issue.

    How about instead employers sponsoring candidates through university on a part time basis (similar to day release some construction companies use) in exchange for a bigger say on how the course is composed. Employers get properly trained candidates who understand the business and the role and the candidate gets the guarantee of a position and the work experience to back it up.

    Nah won't happen though, too much common sense and not enough commission for the "ruperts " of the recruitment world.

  12. lglethal Silver badge
    FAIL

    Partially agree...

    I agree in getting rid of the 50% target, that was always a stupid idea.

    I do not agree with increasing the prices and removing the budget caps! University is already far too expensive for the average person. However, I suppose i would be willing to agree to an increase in the cost of university degrees when all of those members of parliament who obtained there degrees back in the day when they were FREE, pay the current full fee for the degrees they obtained (plus interest naturally). Yeah not going to happen is it...

    Lets face facts, the government in the UK wants to dumb down the entire population to the level of the daily fail reader so that there easier to maintain, so what do you expect - of course many UK degrees are effectively worthless. We cant have enlightened prollies can we?

    1. Magnus_Pym

      You beat me to it

      What they are actually saying is make degree graduation an elite club the elite and make my child one them. Or put another keep the riff-raff in their place

    2. Boring Bob

      Waste of time

      20 years ago when I did my degree in Electronics, employers did not require a degree as you don't actually need a degree to do Electronic design. Interest, hobby and a HND (two year course after O'Levels) was more than enough. Now they are asking for masters and PhDs but you still don't really need a degree to do the job. The whole thing is a complete waste of time and money.

      Ask yourself, when was the last time you used calculus or even a sine function. Most people could have stopped studying maths at the age of 10.

    3. Magnus_Pym

      Read - think - respond

      I think rather than commenting on the story, what you are doing is turd-spurting your bigotry and self interest.

      I think I can rewrite your comment much more succinctly as follows:

      The reason that I am not hailed as the new messiah is not because I am ordinary but because everyone is working against me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did you actually read what I wrote?

        I at least put forward a way to improve things.

        Employers complain graduates aren't suited to the role, so change the training, rather than complaining.

        It is not bigotry to comment on a bias towards candidates from overseas who are willing to work for a rate lower than the grill chef in mcdonalds.

        Muppet, I suppose you read the guardian, socialist worker, or someother la la land paper.

    4. lglethal Silver badge
      FAIL

      You really dont know what your talking about do you?

      For one thing, the requirement to prove that there is no Brit/EU perosn who can do your job already exists across the entire EU including the UK.

      Secondly, the Tier 1 migrants visa (the one that lets you work where you want in the UK and is reserved for highly educated people) now requires a person to have a masters degree and to have earned the equivalent of £40k in the previous year - so the whole hiring cheaply skilled workers on this particular visa is not going to happen. In fact bery few non-managers get through on this visa these days.

      Thirdly, in engineering most of the overseas staff you are complaining about are actually obtained through offshoring and in my experience usually have the skills and work ethic to get the job done well. If they dont there quickly replaced with someone that does!

      Lastly, if UK degrees where worth anything company's might not look so regularly for the foreigners. Hell just recently, the UK gov proposed reducing the length of an engineering degree from 3 years (which is already too short to learn the skills you need to become a full engineer) to 2 years! Australia, New zealand and South Africa all require 4 years to become an engineer (and believe me thats 4 solid years - there are no easy subjects) and in Germany they require 5 (although there slowly moving to 4) to think you can become an engineer after 3 is ridiculous.

      Sorry rant over... but honestly, your government already makes it more difficult for legitimate foreign workers to work in Britian then in any other country in Europe... If you cant get british people into jobs with the lack of competition this causes then obviously british people dont have the skills the companies want - and whos fault is that?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        BS

        £40K...I think your looking at the wrong visa category there, There are other categories which allow staff on £20K plus to be brought into the UK by the company, which isn't that high.

        Too right it is hard to bring in foreign workers, we have 4 million unemployed, therefore look after your own first. The requirement for British/EU workers is easily gotten around, using small circulation publications for advertising is a favoured one. The economy of this country needs people working to pay tax to support it. More unemployed, more money spent on benefits and more crime. More people in work, usually less crime and less spent on benefits.

        I know plenty of well trained people who get turned down for positions, solely because the recruiter has a cozy deal set up to supply overseas candidates in preference to local candidates. and no most of them don't have a flipping clue how to do the job or speak English. Some of them are a liability, can't speak English yet recruited to drive heavy machinery in a busy area, where the rest of the staff speak English, resulting in people being run over, because they don't understand "STOP"

        I dont subscribe to the Mail etc, but I'm a bit tired of companies breaking the rules by not advertising positions that they have available, lying about vacancies when questioned, then recruiting a heap of new staff from outwith the EU to save money and avoid having to offer decent terms and conditions or obey things such as the "working time directive" or health and safety laws.

        Also I did suggest a way forward, by giving employers a bigger say in training courses in exchange for taking a set number of graduates from said course. Which of course the recruiters don't want to happen.

        Frankly the rate it is going, no one will be in skilled work in the UK soon as either everything gets "outsourced" or foreign "contractors" are brought in, instead of training local staff.

        But then that doesn't fit in with your shiny fluffy world view does it?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Title Is Required

    While the aim of reducing the number of pointless degrees is laudable, their turn of phrase does make me very concerned as to what they regard as being a good degree course.

    "develop the curriculum in a way which embeds employability skills in every degree course"

    That would presumably include training on how to rape the English language with phrases such as "embeds employability skills". I've noticed, since I graduated, that a training in how to speak English correctly and make yourself understood counts for nothing. Whereas those who apparently did the modules in advanced bullshitting, how to look busy, and how walking everywhere very fast with a worried expression will make you look important are the ones who seem to progress.

    Those last 3, if I'd known them when I left university, would have propelled me into the stratosphere of management and I'd probably be one of the people on this committee by now. But instead, as I turned out to have abilities, I'm still doing pretty much what I trained for in the first place. I am, apparently, extremely employable despite never having had 'employability skills' embedded into me.

    I think (or I fervently hope) that what these people mean by 'employability skills' is simply 'skills'.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Ben Raynes
    Megaphone

    Compromise?

    Surely there must be some sort of compromise here - you go to University for free/at a drastically reduced cost IF you're doing a worthwhile degree to fulfill a shortage in the country (ie, Nursing) AND you take a job in this country for a period of no less than xx number of years (ie, you work for the NHS for 5 years after graduation).

    That way we get people not doing Mickey Mouse degrees, and working at their trained job in this country. They get a Uni education of high quality and it doesn't cost them much. Admittedly, needs fine-tuning to ensure people aren't pissing off just as they finish the on-the-job training....

    Even just some sort of scale of fees, where the %age subsidy increases as the usefulness of the course increases. Anyone doing a pure science, engineering, medical or teacher training degree pays next to nothing... anyone doing politics, art history or sociology pays the full price plus a fee for wasting the Universities time!

  16. kosmos

    Too bad for the employers...

    People do not exist solely to service the whims and requirements of a corporation.

  17. Gordon is not a Moron
    Coat

    I wonder....

    who do I need to talk to about getting funding to do an MA on the animations of Walt Disney?

    Mines the one with the Mouse ears on the hood.

    1. PirateSlayer

      Micky

      This is very short sighted.

      Also, degrees such as pure maths (on which all technological breakthroughs, amazing planes, war technology is based on), are under your criteria of being "fulfilling a shortage in the country", "micky mouse".

      Business needs to f**k off and let universities get on with producing what they produce: research.

      Undergraduates are just a grimey byproduct and are each as worthless as the next...regardless of degree.

      1. Ben Raynes

        Decide...

        ... is pure maths "mickey mouse" or "fulfilling a shortage"?

        It's only a suggestion - the actual degrees on the list will vary from time to time. But how many times have you heard the Government or professional body complaining abuot shortages of xxx? And how many times have you seen newspaper stories about "xxx being brought in from abroad"?

        And while university research is a bloody good thing, without the eventual production of the grimey byproduct undergraduates, then who continues the research once the current lot kark it?

        I'm just trying to say there must be a better way of doing things with a bit more segregation (naughty word in this day and age I know!) and granularity, rather than applying a broad-brush approach and making a mess of the entire system.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Lack of vocational training

    It's time to stop pretending that degrees are the same as vocational training - or more precisely that the purpose of a university is to train workers for their specific requirements.

    What is sorely lacking in the UK is credible alternatives to degrees for vocational subjects. This is the real reason we get pseudo intellectualized degrees such as Golf Course Management, yet can't find a highly skilled building contractor that hasn't come from Eastern Europe.

    Keep the university system for theoretical, academic subjects, and use vocational options, such as modern apprenticeships to drive up participation.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Too right!

    It p*sses me off no end, as a thirty-something who decided to get straight into work after school, that employers & recruitment agencies now virtually demand a degree before even considering you as a candidate.

    Never mind years & years of 'industry experience' and a proven track record - as you didn't waste three years ar$ing about pretending to study they you're deemed underqualified and of no use.

    W@nkers.

    1. PirateSlayer
      Megaphone

      D

      Degrees have always be awarded for what some call "vocational subjects". Politicans (and perhaps you) are very confused about what all current universities have ever offered. For example, former polytechnics have never offered degrees in being a car mechanic, hair dresser, etc and the commentards at the BBC (who apparently never went to University or a polytechnic and have chips on their shoulders) constantly waffle on about the sanctity of degrees. People have ALWAYS earned degrees at these institutions for subjects like engineering and sciences. Where do you draw the line between vocational biology and academic biology? When does engineering and computer science stop being a vocation and start being academic?

      FE colleages need to deal (and DO deal!) with what the Tories and Labour think is 'vocational' stuff (like hair dressing, cooking, car mechanics, joining, plastering), and the universities need to deal with the rest - the stuff that mixes vocational and academic achievement. Oh, and the government has been slashing funding to FE colleges for decades.

      As for the recruitment sector, I would rather ask the scum under my left toenail for it's assessment of the UK education sector. They are worse than conveyencers...and that says more than being worse than estate agents.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. Lack of vocational training

      I kind of agree with this post, but in the main I think that employers and business should be kept away from education.

      Business only wants to cut its own costs; they aren't interested in people developing expertise in a subject or the ability to think for themselves, they just want cannon fodder employees who can operate the current generation of office productivity software.

      Some degree courses are purely vocational (e.g. medicine), some are partly vocational (e.g. engineering) and some are non-vocational (e.g. some courses in the arts, but I'm not having a go here); however not everyone who gets a degree goes on to work in a related field, people have the freedom to change direction and pursue careers in a completely different field (Harry Hill anyone?).

      Ironically I'm currently listening to "Brave New World" where everyone's career is decided before decanting - for Ford's sake, let's not go there eh?

  20. RyokuMas Silver badge
    FAIL

    Agree with Daniel Garcia 2

    I was in the penultimate year of the grant i.e.: before Liebour made a U-turn on their pledge to keep the grant - and looking back on it, I realise I should not have even made it into university, nevermind getting a degree! Some of the places I applied to wanted two E grades at A level - and these places are supposed to be the cream of the accademic crop!

    The politicians seem to have it in whatever they have instead of brains that there should be "equality" - but we are all different, so a one-size-fits-all system is never going to work! Abolish tuition fees and bring back grants, and raise the entry requirements levels, so we end up with universities whose students are smart, want to study and are not burdened with having to cram in extra jobs or facing years of debt after graduating, rather than the free-for-all we have at the moment which has left degrees all but worthless and many in with debts that make the idea of work almost not worth their while, assuming they can actually get a job.

    Fail. Because it's what the system has done. And, had the system been working, what I should have done.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Degrees seem to be worthless.

    As an employer, I've found many people who apply for a job do not have the skills that their degrees actually say they have. "I have a pass with honours at English". OK, fill this form in and do a simple spelling test. Result? Most of them can't spell, many can't write in a legible manner, and some of them can't even read properly.

    "I have a degree in maths". Try this (basic) maths test. Result? Half of them can't do simple maths or calculate how much change they would have to give someone unless they have a calculator to work it out on. Almost all are absolutely useless at mental arithmetic. Everything has to be written down, and the answer has to be worked out on a calculator!

    So, stop all the mickey mouse degrees, and bring back a decent standard of teaching so these kids can read, write, and do sums. Oh, thinking about it, perhaps we should replace some of the teachers as well. A lot of them don't seem to be able to spell, or write in a legible manner, judging from various letters I've had from the schools my kids went to.

    In short, education in general has taken a huge leap backwards over the last 30 years years.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EVERYONE should go to uni

    After all if more people had gone from my age group there'd be even more people that I'm three years ahead of in my career.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Graduate Syndrome...

    ... is what , as a manager, I used to call the influx of barely-literate graduates I was latterly obliged to accept direct from university, rather than skilled and talented people who had already proved themselves in the workplace but couldn't tick all the requisite squares on the Human Resources computer-generated application form. People who had been getting their knees brown in a workplace while their barely-pubescent new bosses had been playing student drinking games.

    In my experience at least 50% of degrees awarded in this country are Mickey Mouse degrees. I've had Engineering graduates who couldn't tell me what Boyle's Law was. English graduates who couldn't write a page in Queen's English, even with a word processor and spell-checker. Management graduates who couldn't organise a booze-up in a brewery.

    Worst of all was the common assumption with such types that - if university-educated people couldn't come up with an answer to a problem - that simply proved the problem was insoluble. A situation common throughout government and upper management these days. Almost invariably, they were and are wrong.

    In my book, education - especially higher education - is MEANT to be divisive. That's it's purpose, as long as the division is by educational excellence and not parental income. Education - like money - suffers from inflation. Forget that and a job market unable to assess employees by educational 'standards' simply finds its own level.

    When I started my career my job required a few good O-Levels. By the time I retired they required graduates - and the comparison was woeful. Better the best of a lower education stream than the worst of the upper.

  24. TeamEvil
    FAIL

    Degree or common sense

    Working at the same company now for 11 years, I've seen my fair share of students waiving their degrees saying "look at me, look how clever I am!"

    It's a shame that most of them have no common sense at all after doing a Mickey Mouse degree in Fruit Flies. They may well have spent the past 3 years in University, but they're pretty dim with everyday office based tasks, or throw a hissy fit when the Magic Box doesn't work as it should.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tax?

    So taxes have gone up but now the middle classes are expected to pay for uni on top? Why? How about cutting the tax if you want me to then pay for the goods. Fucking socialists.

  26. spiny norman
    FAIL

    Several issues here

    1) Who kept telling the government "we need more graduates"? Was it maybe the CBI (employers), and did they perhaps figure, with the supply increased, they could pick the best, pay them less and chuck the rest on the scrap heap?

    2) "Parents and students should be encouraged to save ..." for education, retirement, long term care ... etc etc. Makes you wonder what disposable income most people would have left to spend now. Who benefits? The financial services industry, selling investment schemes, that mostly fail to deliver what they promise.

    3) The promise was that increased takeup of higher education would enable us to take advantage of the "knowledge economy". Where have those jobs gone? To eastern Europe, India and the Far East, not because those people are cleverer or better educated, but because they're cheaper.

  27. Gordon861

    Real Degrees

    We should be funding people that do 'real' degrees like sciences etc, as long as they are doing the course and getting decent grades.

    We should be encouraging people to do subjects like nursing/teaching by giving them an interest free student loan that is automatically paid of over 15 years of working in the public sector at no charge to them. If they go to work in the private sector they should have to pay back the fees.

    But if you want to do things like French Lit. or Media Studies etc you should be paying for it yourself.

    The 50% target was a stupid idea, we'd be better with a lower taget for Uni of people that will actually get something real from it, and start funding more apprenticeships for people that aren't suited for Uni.

  28. Hugh Tonks
    WTF?

    Plus ca change ...

    What a good idea - restricting the number of degree places. But instead of selecting candidates based on wealth, why not select them based on ability? And if you only have 10% of people going to Uni instead of 50%, maybe the government could afford to pay their tuition fees for them (after all, they're going to be the high earners who will return it all in tax), and perhaps even give them some cash to live on. Then maybe we should make A-levels and GCSEs much harder so that we can tell who the good kids are.

    Ah - I seem to have accidentally re-invented the system we had 30 years ago when I was doing my funded, grant-laden degree. It worked OK then ... the system wasn't broken, and didn't need fixing.

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    It's called Grade Inflation

    time was when they adjusted the bell curve to let a certain proportion of students get a certain level. But no that's not fair.

    Result. More people, higher *apparent* grades but uncertain performance.

    One *large* UK employer I was aware of did it this way in IT.

    Interview 1) IT person + HR. Ensure candidate has adequate personal hygiene, doesn't drag knuckles on ground, attack random strangers etc.

    Interview 2) Candidate placed in room with language manual, logged in PC, program spec and 2 hour clock. Program runs, they get job.

    UK has traditionally had something of the "Gentlemen and players" environment. Like the City of London the gentlemen have degrees, the players tend to be more self taught. Emphasizing bits of papers looks to make measuring the "Success" in changing the system easier, but I doubt it will improve the outcomes.

    Note employers *like* bits of paper, especially if it says "Microsoft" at the top. My experience of such things has been they might know everything there is to know about Business Server 5 (or whatever) as long as it is set up *exactly* how it reads in the training manual.

    Move things about a bit and it's a case of "but that's not how the manual shows it."

    Welcome to the real world. You may have been top dog in training, but in the Korean restaurant of life, you're just an ingredient.

    Bon a petit.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Then stop demanding degrees!

    I agree with the earlier AC about degrees being demanded. Employers only have themselves to blame here, they don't even consider you as an applicant unless you have a "degree".

    So they make it so people have to do a Micky Mouse degree because otherwise they don't even get considered as an applicant for a job.

    The best one I was was when I saw an advertised role for a "junior ICT Technician", labelled as earning only 14k PA, "good for school leaver" and "degree required".

    Please give me a hit of the crack you are taking it must be really good stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Recruitment agencies.

      I think that recruitment agencies have to shoulder a fair bit of the blame here.

      The wife works as a PA and one of her 'guys' is the HR director, some of the things these agencies tell him are astounding & unbelievable. Quite often they insert the 'requirement' for a degree themselves as they regard anyone without one as a uneducated idiot (their words, not mine!).

      And remember - these sorts are the ones filtering YOUR application before the employer even gets to see it!

      Why the hell do employers use these charlatans?

  31. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    And you will be paying them more right?

    So I leave with a physics/maths/CS degree and a US size loan.

    I'm going to get paid US style salary to cover that?

    Or the only degrees anyone is going to do is law/medicine/vet, who can afford to run up a 50K loan for an IT grad salary ?

  32. lglethal Silver badge
    Joke

    At my old uni

    I can remember in one of the bathrooms in the Mech Eng building there was a toilet roll dispenser which had written on it "Bachelor of Arts Degree - Please Take One".

    Never more true then today!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    really bad getting worse every day

    compared to us yanks accross the pond you have it easy.

    i worked in few diffirent fields in my time and mickey mouse factory is working overtime here with zest that even would astound the japaniese and chiniese with its output.

    here there is no sort of regulation, any one as long as they have money or get investment capitol

    can open their own school of whatever subject they want withot any credit. as a result there are a lot of fly by night last 3 months schools that spew these semi upright sapiens into the work force that get jobs that they are not qualified to do. also for accredited schools there is really no standard either accept for a name which they bank on heavly. as a result a twit who got his degrees in mathematics will be manageing a fast food joint or some other gut rot stand while the twit who had not wil be working in a lab somwhere for some company. put it simply the cult of a collage degree had pretty much destroyed any consistency and quality of work in a lot of fields especially in IT field and computer sciences and pretty much through out the medical field in general. the reason for that is the recruitr has to follow guide lines set down by corp wich by majority of a default and as status in the bussiness world want people with degrees...and to make it worse degrees not even related to the jobs they are not relevant to.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Well

      I'm sure glad you decided to point out things are bad here in the U.S. However, with your poor ability for proof-reading your own blog-quality pile of words, and the obvious loss of grammer and spelling, it seems you are an example of such a "university" or at the very least demonstrating why a high school degree is just "not enough." Capitalization at the start of sentences is also a helpful feature of writing. Here's a short list of shame:

      japaniese = Japanese

      withot = without

      heavly = heavily

      manageing = managing

      wil = will

      through out = throughout

      recruitr = recruiter

      guide lines = guidelines

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        bad grammer

        let see you type with a bouncy 2 year old on your lap *L* you spelling nazi *L* any how try it you will not enjoy it

      2. Corax

        Spelling

        Your corrections are all spot on. But you missed one:

        In "the obvious loss of grammer and spelling". 'grammer' should read 'grammar'.

        'Capitalization' I'll let you have, because I gather you're American, and I know your countryfolk have an odd liking for stray zeds. Or should that be zees?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Oops-a-daisy

        (Clue : something beginning with G.)

        Omfg lol roflmao.

      4. ddogsdad
        WTF?

        High School Degree

        I have a High School Degree. Yes, I can speak the King's (Texas Version) English. My degree is from the school of hard knocks, 40 years experience in IT. Four years hands on experience trumps a four year degree any day of the week. Folks that brandish their degrees aren't fooling anyone. When the CEO of my company needs his computer worked on, it's my cell phone that rings not the help desk. Give me a 23 year old kid who just spent 2 years at a crummy Wally World Job and I'll make him/her a senior tech in 2 years on the job. You can't learn a skill in school, you learn it on the job. We only need about 5% of Americans getting a college degree. You don't need a College degree to sell Real Estate, or be a Policeman, the vast majority of folks getting a degree will never work in that field, they'll just work for a living.

        1. asdf Silver badge
          Flame

          education foot in door

          Really the only thing in the states a degree (until recently) showed an employer is you can learn and have the persistence to complete something. This was a way to get a foot in the door and a way to weed out the chaf. German employers seemed to care alot more about your college grades than your work experience. To each his own but see whose GDP has grown more in the last 40 years.

  34. Thomas Bottrill
    Thumb Up

    University for academics

    I'm of the opinion that you should only have to go to university if you're looking to work in an academic field, such as research. Most jobs work better if you have more vocational learning. For example, if you're looking to be a manager at a business, surely it's much better to learn while you're working there (and therefore learning about all the subtle ways in which your company is unique) than to spend three years learning about generic business methods and then spending a further 18 months on a "graduate training scheme"?

    University should be free, and should only be for those people looking to academic subjects. There should be more companies offering on-the-job training schemes, which would include courses at a local college, and the government should be part-funding this. You shouldn't need a degree to get a good job, as a degree is less useful for some professions than it is for others.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      its your opinion

      and its wrong. People should be able to do what they want.

    2. Ben Raynes
      FAIL

      Opinions are wonderful things.

      Sadly, this is nonsense. There are any number of jobs that require an educational base before you can start any serious on-the-job training - engineering and medicine to name but two.

      Imagine an engineer starting work straight after school, and being useless for the first few years because he doesn't even understand the principles behind the basics, let alone actually know the equations required or whatever. He'd start out doing nothing but making the teas, and stay that way forever because noone would have time to teach him anything.

      But hey - if you want to go to a hospital where doctors don't have the educational base in biology or biochemistry and physiology and everything else they need, and where they just have to wing it with every diagnosis, you go for it!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloody recruiters

    "develop the curriculum in a way which embeds employability skills in every degree course"

    1) Employers have always overestimated what's required of their workforce, because even though most employers are the equivalent of grade C students they have an over-inflated sense of their own importance. The unfortunate truth is that most jobs don't require amazing skills, they merely require basic skills such as reading, writing, the ability to perform basic mathematical tasks, along with a willingness to either shout at, or be shouted at, by customers. Employers are kidding themselves if they think a degree should do anything besides educate the student in their chosen subject. It's not as if employers would willingly give people loads of skills that aren't required for the task at hand, is it?

    2) WTF are 'employability skills' when they're at home? Can the recruiters say? No, it appears they can't. Well, maybe they should have studied some more and then they might have learned that hoping for vague concepts to become clear without putting some effort into the clarification process usually yields the same output as the input.

    "The recruiters also want an end to caps on tuition fees"

    Why? How does this have anything to do with employment prospects?

    "The recruiters also want an end to caps on tuition fees, but this should happen in stages and safeguards put in place for disadvantaged students. Parents and students should be encouraged to save for a university education."

    Or we could go back to the old bursaries system where it didn't necessarily matter that you were poor if you were good at your chosen subject. Why does this even have anything to do with recruitment? Universities don't go bellyaching about recruiters do they? Maybe they should? Perhaps universities should criticise recruiters for advertising the same job under different headings multiple times; perhaps they should also be criticised for providing inappropriate job opportunities given a clear set of directions, for never calling candidates back when they've already said they would, for never responding to requests for information but then uselessly spamming candidates for months, nay years, to come. Perhaps recruiters should shut their stupid fat faces and go back to chasing leads like they're bloody well being paid to do instead of opining about things they clearly have little understanding about.

  36. Richard IV
    Badgers

    So let me get this right

    An organisation whose members are outsourcing like mad and now recruit 25% fewer graduates than they did 20 years ago according to their own figures (but about the same as they did when Labour came to power and the '50% in higher education' target was introduced) say that in the future fewer students should pay through the nose for a smaller chance at grabbing a premium which itself is getting smaller as the jobs get outsourced.

    Even today's allegedly illiterate, innumerate students should be able to spot the disconnect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Employability skills

      "WTF are 'employability skills' when they're at home"

      Skills like working office equipment, writing emails/letters and chairing meetings that employers should be teaching themselfs, but expect everyone to have. No uni in the land is going to teach people how to use a fax FFS. Take SOME of the responisbility and accept that people don't leave uni able to work. Never have been, which is why graduate recrutment is done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Employability skills

        "Employability skills" is one of those phrases that changes its meaning dependending on who's using it. Which means that, without a referent or further definition, it's simply meaningless.

  37. Graham Bartlett

    Nice to see someone finally twigging

    There are two reasons to do higher education.

    The first is to study a subject which requires significant training, and where having a trained pool of people will benefit the country long-term. Science and engineering spring obviously to mind. These people should get government funding, on the basis that long-term they'll bring in more money than the initial training cost. And this doesn't just hold for textbook-based subjects - it also goes for welders, metalworkers, plumbers and other skilled jobs.

    And the second is to study a subject which interests you but has no application. Literature and theology would be good examples here. I can see that it may be in the country's interest to have a very small group of people who know about these things, so funding a few cherry-picked top minds would make sense. For everyone else, put up your own money for your hobby and stop wasting mine.

    What really annoys me is that whilst the government is setting targets for getting suckers onto uni courses ("2 Ds at A-level? That'll do nicely sir, and don't worry that you'll be failing the first year and dropping out with nothing to show for £10k of debt.") when simultaneously there's sod all investment in apprenticeships and other hands-on learning. I'm not looking down on people who didn't get the grades at A-level - it doesn't make you stupid, just better suited to non-academic work. I damn sure couldn't do welding like my bro-in-law can (as a CORGI-registered gas fitter working on big burner systems), and I don't believe he even got CSEs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      No application, or no immediately obvious application?

      "And the second is to study a subject which interests you but has no application."

      Ooh you are silly person who holds the same silly view that lots of other silly people hold, viz: "Engineering and maths have obvious practical applications and are properly hard, but all artsy subjects merely consist of effete flouncing around and have no practical application."

      Your argument is silly on at least four counts.

      1) Academic subjects don't exist to have "obvious practical application". In fact most academic subjects have areas which have no obvious application. Paul Dirac, for example, couldn't see any practical application for the beautiful equations he was interested in writing. How odd, then, that quantum mechanics underlies a great many advances in such things as apparently unrelated to physics as medicine. Employers, it seems, being C-grade students to a man (otherwise they'd be great intellectuals pushing back the boundaries of knowledge, rather than sat in a shed making valves), have all the imagination of C-grade students. Studying for studying's sake is what universities exist to do. They don't exist to provide employers with more people to operate the fax machine, no matter how hard employers want this to be.

      2) Arts subjects, just like manly mathematics-related subjects, require significant training. Don't believe me? OK - go conduct the orchestra for the Welsh National Opera, or play first violin there. Design the costumes, or build and paint an award-winning set for one of their operas. It should be quite easy as it requires no significant training. In fact let's go one better; let's ask a famous well-training mathematician - Marcus De Sautoy has been on a few programs lately so he'll do - to write a novel which would capture the world's imagination and propel him to the status of 12th richest person in Britain. What do you reckon the chances of him doing that are? I reckon the chances are not good.

      3) Having a trained pool of artsy-people (which is larger than a 'very small pool') will benefit the country long-term. Believe it or not people actually buy items of art! I know! Who knew? Robbie Williams sells records, Banksy makes money from his installations, Vivienne Westwood earns a crust from making shoes. In fact I'd go so far as to say that for each example of wonderful science benefitting the country* there are plenty of examples of that self-same science making our world a shittier place. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Rotherham, Telford and Milton Keynes - all built using engineering and maths. And what a wonderful job our engineers did! Never have communities been so well-served with concrete, roundabouts and roads: All the heart desires can be found within their rebar-reinforced shells.

      *And we still have defined what 'benefit the country' means, have we? Does it means "raping the countryside so we can have a shitty-looking poorly-designed, but new, bridge"? Does it mean "earning money"? Does it mean "engendering nationalistic pride in things we didn't do and had no part in, but are encouraged to believe is somehow 'ours'"?

      What really annoys me is that you can only see two reasons to 'do' higher education. If you were better educated perhaps you might be able to find more reasons than that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Erratum

        For "Your argument is silly on at least four counts." read ""Your argument is silly on at least three counts."

      2. Mark Rendle
        Boffin

        Subtle differences

        I think you are confusing reasons to 'do' higher education with reasons why the taxpayer should pay for you to 'do' higher education.

        I also think you are forgetting about the pre-existing confusion of "higher education" and "degrees with names which end in 'Studies'".

  38. Bucky 2
    Pint

    An easier way

    The problem they're trying to solve is that it's difficult to identify whether someone's qualified for a particular task. Their proposed solution is to make it so that there is an accreditation system through which every prospective employee can be so identified.

    This solution is overbroad.

    Rather, the only ability one needs is the ability to tell the difference between the competent and the incompetent.

    Require an accreditation in this skill for all recruiters (with yearly re-accreditation, naturally), and fire those cannot comply.

    If their solution is attainable, then my solution is much, much easier to attain, at much less cost.

    [Beer, because I just like the picture]

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Note the ideal recruitment IT strategy

    Build up a bank of IT types personal to *you*

    Get them into jobs they can do but will become eager to leave just a bit longer than they have to stay to ensure you get you piece of the action. Below their actual ability, above their actual ability, nasty boss etc.

    Stay in regular contact with them so you're ready to "assist" them when they decide to go.

    Repeat as necessary (with occasional moves in employer when they don't come up to *your* expectations in the profit department)

    Not quite finding the *right* candidate for a company that they will *want* to have a career in but *much* more profitable.

    "Recruitment consultant" is a job with virtually non-existent formal qualifications.

    Done some. Known some. However that does not actually make it easy.

  40. Ammaross Danan
    FAIL

    Well

    Last I checked, showing a degree was only proof that one had enough thought-power to do a list of tasks EXACTLY how one was asked, consistantly, over a long period of time. This is something that "self-taught" people with no Uni degree have no proof (and sometimes ability) to be able to do.

    Now, as one of those that fall into the "self-taught" category, I've gone through the motions of getting a paper to back up my skills. When asked why, I merely reply "so I have a piece of paper backing up that I know what I know." Yes, it was an utter waste of my time. I gleaned perhaps one concept in each class that I did not know already. With years of field experience, it was no surprise. Now, the quality of work put forth by other students was quite another matter. You could easily see the "self-taught" students vs. the "normal" students. Their work (programming code, etc) spoke for itself. Self-taught students' code was varying degrees of atrocious, however it worked, and it worked well. The "normal" students had "standard" formatting, but couldn't even figure out how to loop through an array, let alone complete the assignment. And this is in a second or third year class! I always dreaded the "group projects" and specifically associated with the self-taught crowd for the fact that I could rely on their horribly constructed code to actually work its magic and all I had to do was decypher their class interfaces, rather than write the whole project myself just to make it work.

    The education system, even in the US, fails miserably. Perhaps these dim-witted politicians want their progeny to have the "advantage" of the college education they failed to receive, at the cost of the quality of that education. It reminds me of a certain situation in border states in the US that had to "dumb down" secondary school exit exams just so more students could pass them.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    That's why...

    I have a "fake" degree. Works just as well but not nearly as expensive. It's never been questioned, maybe because I have a strong resume.

    AC for obvious reasons.

  42. Neoc
    FAIL

    Yet another example...

    ...of why the addition of a 'dateline' is becoming more important to El Reg - it has offices in the UK and the USA and reports on stories from around the globe... and yet, it wasn't until the last sentence in this story that I (as a non-UK resident) was given a clue as to where this story was about.

    PLEASE: add a location indicator to the top of the reports, if they deal with a geographically-based theme.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      El Reg is a UK-centric site.

      Can we have a 'counter-fail' icon please?

  43. Magnus_Pym

    How about...

    ... If the various recruiters and employers associations actually got off their fat arses and looked into what degree course where being taught and sorted the wheat from the chaff. They could publish a list of 'accredited' universities and courses for the particular branch of commerce that they represented. i.e if you what to work in a professional IT environment don't go the the University of East Cheam to study Elvisology.

  44. shrdlu
    FAIL

    Basketweaving Degrees

    The government's plan to give 50% of the population degrees will backfire. Because the probability of having a degree now correlates with age, it's no longer legal to use a degree as a selection criterion in employment. Anyone without a degree who thinks they have been discriminated against in recruitment or promotion has the option to take the employer to a tribunal.

    1. Dan 10

      Interesting point

      It winds me up when a job ad insists on a degree, any degree. If they caveat it with 'or equivalent experience', I'm fine. Does this then mean that failing to add this caveat is discriminatory?

      In my first job as a support tech/sysadmin, I had to train up a graduate who came in as my senior, fresh from a another support tech role elsewhere. He dutifully watched while I showed him round the AS400's, the NT domains etc etc and explained the architecture. He went away, then came back later... to ask me how to create a user account in NT. 'Frustrating' didn't even cover it.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do it themselves

    I had a rant written. It was however much the same as everyone else wrote. So how about a solution instead.

    Corporations want employment skills in all degrees (automaton degree). How about they put their money together create their own higher education establishment and qualification? If these bodies weren’t evil they would even pay for it all because it’s them that would benefit. Then those of us who want to exercise our brain can do an educational degree.

    Of course they are evil so are more likely to make you require their qualification then sell it to you such that they make a profit off each course, whilst lending you the money. That way you have to stay employed by them and subservient because you have to pay them back for the rest of your life. Of course in order to make sure the salaries stay down they put pressure on the government to import cheap labour from abroad rather than train people and/or pay people in this country the money required for the cost of living in this country. After all it isn’t enough to be rich is it, everyone has the right to have more money than they can actually do anything useful with don’t they? and the rest of the country (you know those on the payee system) can foot the tax bill required to pay for the unemployed that have been created in order for them to be super rich.

    Oh darn, I ranted anyway…

    P.S. Is my Higher Education only there so I can serve someone else, is that honestly the only reason that this country sees for it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      car college

      I can' remember where I read it, but Ford/GM/etc used to sponsor college/trade schools by way student loans and grants for precisely the reason you state: investing in their own future workforce. Since the crash (sic), I believe they have cut back tremendously, but the were once know for educating their own.

  46. Graham Bartlett

    @Silver Fox

    I don't ask for funded courses to have "obvious practical application". It's quite clear that many areas which don't have immediate practical application may well do so in the future.

    I do ask for funded courses to NOT have an obvious lack of practical application. Hence Literature and Theology as examples, which qualify you only to study Literature and Theology - they don't make you a better writer or a more spiritually-pure person.

    Robbie Williams sells records. He didn't need a degree to do what he does. Nor did most of his musicians, or the people working in the studios where he recorded. Banksy never had any training. Vivienne Westwood studied art, but had no training in fashion or making clothes. Yes, many artists do study arts-based subjects at uni, but in most cases it won't make them better artists. I'm sure the majority are there only because you're now looked down on if you don't have a degree, and because it gives them three more years to figure out what to do with their lives. It's indisputable that the majority of arts graduates won't end up working professionally in the area they studied - the numbers on this just don't lie.

    As for musicians in orchestras, that actually supports my point. You don't get to study at RCM unless you already have a proven talent for music, and there aren't many places. In other words, they're *already* implementing a system where only the best of the best get to study the subject.

    And don't get the impression that I think all technical/vocational subjects are worth funding - there are plenty which are pointlessly oversubscribed. Forensic Science famously has full courses everywhere, when the police actually require single-digit numbers of graduates. Music Technology courses are also full, and similarly need single-digit numbers of graduates running sound for touring bands and working in the few remaining pro studios.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Graham Bartlett

      "I do ask for funded courses to NOT have an obvious lack of practical application."

      Yes, but why? You've already conceded that some subjects have no obvious practical application yet you still want funded courses to have some kind of practical application (and don't dare get all hair-splitty about something 'not lacking a practical application' not being the same as having a practical application: Not lacking something is quite definitely the same as having it).

      You cite literature and theology as courses which only qualify you to study literature and theology but this is simply not true. For one thing I gained entrance to university to study philosophy via a half-complete theology degree (and now I work quite comfortably in IT), and for another we might as well argue that pure mathematics only qualifies you to study pure mathematics.

      On the contrary - degrees furnish you with tools for thinking: Those tools can have applications which are tangential upon the original reason for being given that tool.

      > Yes, many artists do study arts-based subjects at uni, but in most cases it won't make them better artists.

      Really? Define 'better' in the context of art.

      Also - you say that 'many artists ...' assertion: How many artists, exactly?

      "It's indisputable that the majority of arts graduates won't end up working professionally in the area they studied - the numbers on this just don't lie."

      So what if you don't end up working professionally in the area you studied for? Does this mean all your studying was wasted? Would you argue the same if a child spend a great deal of time learning to write: "Well you're never going to be a writer, so if I were you I'd give up now"? What are you: "Master of consequences" or something?

      "You don't get to study at RCM unless you already have a proven talent for music"

      True, but for one thing there are other places you can study music besides the RCM (this even includes some universities), and for another musical education isn't much different from non-musical education. Try getting in to do a maths degree without having a "proven talent for maths".

      "And don't get the impression that I think all technical/vocational subjects are worth funding - there are plenty which are pointlessly oversubscribed." Forensic Science famously has full courses everywhere, when the police actually require single-digit numbers of graduates. Music Technology courses are also full, and similarly need single-digit numbers of graduates running sound for touring bands and working in the few remaining pro studios."

      Universities don't exist simply to churn out employees - they exist to allow people to study their chosen subject. This means that oversubscription relative to the job-market is an irrelevance from the point of view of a university because the onus for 'getting a job' falls on the person doing the studying. Even if you were to restrict funding to courses which were perfectly in-step with the job market (and good luck with that, btw) this still wouldn't guarantee that graduates would necessarily want a job in the same area they studied.

      I appreciate your point about lots of graduates being out of work and this being a bad thing, but lots of non-graduates are out of work as well and an employer's attitude that they must have a graduate is just as much to blame as universities allowing students to study courses that don't have immediate practical application. Most employers don't need graduates - they just need someone with a brain, who is willing to learn, and doesn't mind sticking around for long enough to acquire the kinds of skills the job requires. Moaning at universities for not churning out the 'right kinds' of graduates is simply bollocks - if a business really requires a graduate why don't they pay for someone who already works for them to go to university on day-release they way they used to?

  47. Peter 43
    FAIL

    Kidding, right?

    As a university professor, I can absolutely tell you that not everyone should go to college. We see way too many students who lack motivation, skills, and other requirements attending college and university for the wrong reasons--almost always because of parental pressure, or social pressure.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    What a joke!

    Do you know what annoys me the most about this... I work very hard, I am reasonably smart, without blowing my own trumpet and I left school at 16 years old.

    I got a job in IT working for £8k a year, now at 21 I'm earning around £35K + commision, company car, a house and mortgage, a great girlfriend and a fantastic life doing what I want when I want.

    This being said, 70% of my school friends are now leaving Universities with massive debts and no hope of finding a decent career because they still don't have an ounce of experience.

    The system is all one big joke and any employer that qualifies candidates based on 'degree' status deserves to fail with inexperienced staff!

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