Arts students are second class citizens


Photo by Luke Montague

Like many third years struggling to come to terms with the death of their extended childhood I am currently in the midst of job hunting. Actually, job hunting is too dignified a verb to describe it; I am job scouring. The last few weeks of my campus life have been less focused on buzzwords like “footnote,” “annotate” and “Harvard referencing system” and much more in the orbit of “numerical reasoning,” “assessment centre” and “telephone interview.” It wouldn’t be too much to say, in fact, that job hunting is easily the most stressful and soul destroying part of my student life. And the University does nothing to help ease this.

Granted, my degree is in a humanities subject; a wistful journey into books and essays, learning how to formulate an argument and maybe accidentally picking up a spot of Latin on your way. Some say that arts students should not expect help to break into business, as the natural progressive career step for a student of English or History is to teach English or History, but the fact of the matter is that a good 80% of the people I know are trying (and struggling) to get on to graduate schemes. Incidentally, as I write this I note that there is a proposed doubling of postgraduate tuition fees for, you guessed it, arts students – further compounding the decline of the Bachelor of Arts.

Shift focus to that of the Management School; a veritable utopia for employment with dedicated staff ready to offer mock interviews, a separate book repository for practical and applicable books on getting a job, a free Times Top 100 Graduate Employers (worth £16.99), a booklet containing all the major companies hiring and what dates they close, and regular visits from multinational companies. Considering we all pay the same tuition fees it seems to me that the University is pumping considerably more money into some areas than others.

Yes, University facilities such as CEEC and LUSU Involve do a good job for the rest of the campus, but it just pales in comparison when put aside the quality of resources that the Management School have as their disposal. Yes I am aware that at least a few of these top-of-the-range employment aides are available for the rest of the student body, however I only know this because friends have told me about them. To me LUMS is a veritable temple of secrets as far as us poor BAs are concerned. I hope it is clear from my writing that I am in no way resentful of the Management School students; congratulations on having these resources and being far better equipped to deal with the real world than the rest of us. To the powers that be at Lancaster: I think most of us students would quite like jobs too, if that’s alright.

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  1. its an interesting one, as the mutli-nationals you speak of are looking for people with specific degree disciplines and experience. Being an ex-LUMS student and knowing a fair amount of people from non-LUMS courses I feel (not in an arrogant way) that I left with more skills aimed at working with these firms and relevant items to populate a CV with than some of my non-LUMS colleges and this is worked into the whole LUMS degree scheme from a core level. Its also worth mentioning that plans are afoot to ban the advertising of “grad jobs” meaning that anyone with the right experience can apply for a position and companies cannot just put a blanket requirement of “a degree” on the application, personally I think this is fair as someone with 3 years experience in working (in the right position) will normally be better suited to a job than a fresh graduate but the wider consequence is companies will forming closer ties with universities to hire out of them as they will not be able to advertise traditional “grad jobs” – they will target individual students – which will make your choice of degree scheme back when your doing your UCAS even more important.

  2. If the university’s CEEC is incompetent, what’s wrong with Management School running their own careers office? Besides, would students in other faculties want to be bombarded with such irrelevant recruitment campaigns by firms that are not even targeting them as graduate employees?

  3. But non-management school students ARE bombarded with irrelevant information pertaining to jobs that very probably don’t interest them – it’s the only thing CEEC are any good at doing! There’s a mentality that the only thing we’re interested in doing is ‘Enterprise in Heels’ or ‘Managing Aldi’.

    There’s nothing wrong with the Management School setting up its own careers service – I’d go as far as saying that it’s a positive thing – but it wouldn’t hurt for University management to funnel a bit of money into the other faculties to allow them to set up similar services, and to help arts students get jobs in fields that actually interest them.

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