Rosemary November Blog

Monday February 4th 2013

It’s hard to believe that first semester is nearly over and Christmas is fast approaching. It never ceases to surprise me how fast time goes during the academic year. I’m now half way through my degree and planning what I’m going to do when I graduate. I’m aware that there are a growing number of graduates who are unable to get jobs. Ultimately the purpose of attending university is to gain a degree which will enable you to work in an area in which you are interested. However, I know this is no longer the case as the jobs simply are no longer there. This has led to an increase in graduates either working on a voluntary basis or having to work in menial jobs, to pay the bills until they’re able to progress with their careers. Although this certainly isn’t ideal it must be said that working on a voluntary basis and gaining work experience is very character building. The skills and qualities that work experience enables people to gain will ultimately enable them to then have the tools to become a success when job opportunities do arise. Employers are receiving more applications than ever and this is why I would highlight the importance for all students to gain as much work experience as possible. I’m aware there is not a surplus of part-time jobs however, even giving a few hours a week to do some voluntary work could be what separates you from the rest and ultimately lands you your dream job. Even if you feel the work you’re doing has no relevance whatsoever to the job you’re interested in, it will develop you as an individual and give you something to speak about at interviews.

Of course at a time when university fees are increasing students are increasingly likely to read in the news of the lack of jobs and then decide to opt out of higher education. Whilst this works very well for some and they go on to be very successful through starting at the bottom of a company and working their way up, I do however believe that there needs to be career services available to all students, as the decision whether or not to attend university is a big one and certainly will influence the rest of your life. Unfortunately however, I know that there are a decreasing number of opportunities for young people to speak to career advisers due to cuts, and this is certainly an area which I believe the government need to reassess. I have certainly found the careers services both at Thornhill College and at Queen’s University Belfast to have been extremely beneficial in guiding me in the right direction and helping answer any queries I have had. Today’s young people are the future and helping them fulfil their true potential and succeed will in the long term benefit society as a whole.

I’m aware that Cambridge and Oxford are aiming to increase the number of people that they are choosing from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is a very positive step in the right direction as it is disadvantaged young people who are the most likely to opt out of university due to the expense of the fees. I believe a good idea to encourage such students would be to get current students at university, who came from a disadvantaged background, to speak to students from such areas and share with them their experience and the benefits of higher education. Such a measure would not cost any money as I’m sure students and graduates would be happy to travel back to their roots and encourage those who are from poorer backgrounds to follow in their footsteps. I also believe the number of opportunities to gain work experience should be increased. Many companies today offer summer interns and placements for students. This enables students to gain work experience as well as having the added bonus that if they impress the company they’re working for then they get to fast-track their career through entering the graduate training scheme when they complete their degree. Such opportunities do exist and it’s up to students to track down such opportunities and make the most of what’s available. Although I’m aware the current economic situation doesn’t make getting a graduate job easy I don’t believe it’s all doom and gloom as there are opportunities out there and with persistence and drive I believe anything is possible. ‘Life Without Limits’.