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Careers fairs. Obviously, these events have been designed by universities in recent years to help guide the future generations into the jobs that they have spent years training for. You would think that after spending thousands of pounds and three years studying for your degree, you would be able to be enlightened at these events and that waiting for you after all the stress, hard work and expense, would be an answer to what you want to do with your future.
Well, no. This just isn’t the case for a lot of us. After adopting a proactive attitude and going along to this hailed gateway to your future experience, you kind of lose the will to live after passing stand after stand of careers for accounting, finance, engineering and business.
Graduates of, dare I say it, arts degrees like English or History, often find themselves unwillingly herded towards the only stand you are seen fit for, teaching. What a surprise.
No doubt everyone by their third year has also been victim to similar careers lectures, instances that pass in a bewildered haze of fear inducing members from CEEC going on about online graduate job application forms that we’ve never even heard of, and the people skills that employers now covet alongside your degree.
With the University now offering schemes such as the Lancaster Award that help gain these skills, third year life turns into a challenge of trying to balance dissertations, work experience placements and these skills insight courses, as well as the usual epic reading lists and essay deadlines. It often begs the question of whether or not these extra curricular career, while seeming to profess a solution to your future worries, deliver the desired results.
Websites like Prospects and, God forbid, Milkround, that we naively sign up for in first year, all claim to filter through jobs that are appropriate for our degrees. Yet after two years of receiving emails from these culprits, I have never had a useful notification about available jobs that are even relevant to what I am studying.
It is no wonder then, that a lot of us want to take a year out after graduating to travel and do bar work, often causing a horrified reaction on behalf of parents when this blasphemy is uttered. The preconception of the eternal student bum no doubt springs to mind, triggering the question we all dread: “So when are you going to get a real job?” It is no surprise that the route of postgraduate study for MAs, PGCEs, NCTJs, and every other abbreviated qualification we can gain becomes more and more appealing in order to stave off the inevitable job hunting.
Now that employers can ask for everything; a good degree, relevant work experience and the desirable skills, it seems increasingly harder to get our foot in the door to even try to pay off the £20,000 debt we will have accumulated. It is probably right to say that this is a little sensationalised by the media in a bid to sell newspapers, however with the marked rise in demand for university places that took place this year, I won’t want to be out of work by the time the class of 2013 graduate. By then who knows what standards employers will be looking for?