Monday, 3 October 2016

The average graduate

I've been saying for a while that a demand based, non-capped, university system ruins students whom are the very people it is designed to serve. In a world where it is easier than ever to enter University, it is good for:  University staff by keeping them employed; the government, as it reduces the official unemployment rate; egos of students who would otherwise be pursuing other options.

It's been my observation that students who are easily allowed entrance to University often find themselves unable to keep up with academic rigour found in courses.  The pressure on all educators in both the vocational and higher education fields is to water down the standard of courses to produce more students who can do less.  True professionals are capable, highly skilled, competent and striving to constantly improve.

With the continuation of the demand driven University system all I observe are worse outcomes for students as they are no longer competitive with a degree.  How can you be proud of achieving a qualification, traditionally designed to educate the best of the best academically, when anyone and their dog can get the same expensive piece of paper?  Equally, it seems that the system which embraces all higher education and learning, seems to be producing poorer results both in job readiness and employment success.  While I acknowledge that it can be very difficult to get work despite the best efforts, developments in terms of poorer outcomes are concerning.

It's been a while since I have worked as the boss' assistant in finding the top candidates for a role. When I was doing this I had completed a degree about four years prior and discovered that it was not the golden ticket to opportunity I thought.  I entered University in the late nineties which in Australia meant preparing for University involved many nights studying and no guarantee of a favorable outcome.  Then, I pursued vocational training and experience working in primarily sales, sales administration, marketing and human resources.  When it came to going through resumes I am ashamed to say that those who had only studied at University, with special mention to PhD graduates in obscure areas, stood out for their ineptitude and flagrant disregard for the employment process.

I wish I could tell you nearly ten years later that graduate standards have improved.  It would be lying to suggest improvement in standards, professionalism and academic achievement.  My observations of the young people coming after me who have, or are pursuing a degree, are badly in need of a competitive edge.  The basic lack of communication and debating skill on which a degree should be founded are worrying.  The gross misunderstanding of basic research methodology leaves me hesitant to ever recommend a employer spend money on someone who went to University and has no other claim to fame.  In fact, I would not employ most graduates.  They would have to prove themselves through employment, volunteer work and vocational training achievement.  The completion of a basic front cover letter and resume to grade ten standard would certainly place the average graduate ahead of the game.