Nigel Farage has recently criticised the number of young people choosing to go to university to do 'bad' degrees blaming it on an advert from the 1980's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK5-2fPyCjA). Just months ago though David Cameron opposed the snobbery directed towards the 'Mickey Mouse' degrees that are less traditional and often more vocational. It is a fact that students are becoming more selective in their degree choices due to the rise in fees to £9000 a year, and it is also a fact that more and more young people are deciding to attend university instead of working or doing an apprenticeship. Both of these statements though centre round the staggeringly high unemployment rate and lack of opportunity for the degree-less young person in 2014.
The two politicians stand in complete opposition as our Prime Minister defends degrees such as the ever popular golf course management degree while Farage criticises our society where
'we are encouraging people to go and get degrees, in many cases not particularly good degrees.'Now it is unusual for anyone to come down on the side of Nigel Farage, and I do not blame Maureen Lipman, star of the infamous advert running lives everywhere, for the currently over-qualified, unemployed graduate population, but Cameron is deluded if he believes that employers are suddenly going to change their view towards vocational degrees. It is now more important than ever to consider career prospects when choosing what to do post-A level or Baccalaureate. Many students now shy away from degrees in the Arts and Humanities because job opportunities are so few in this field. It is sad that instead of following our passions, students must first think of the financial gain of each subject, often beginning this thought process mid-GCSE in order to maximise their chances when applying to top universities for top degrees.
The pressure for graduates to be able to find a job and start paying off their student loans is greater than ever thanks to the fee hike 3 years ago. So why do so many people choose to get into so much debt for a qualification that everyone has now? This is the question Farage is asking and condemning. However the reason students are choosing the academic life is because the few jobs left out there are only going to be given to those with higher education qualifications. You have to be competitive in the job market, and to be competitive you can't be green, you have to have either work experience or the university stamp of approval.
As the recent electioneering budget showed, money isn't being funneled towards the younger generations; it is there to care for the elderly and already rich among us because they're the ones voting. Yes, support of the older generations is important, but the youth unemployment rate will not be lowered by the few apprenticeships the government seem to promise every year. It has become the buzz term for gaining the youth vote, but it is not working and not improving the future of our generation in a big enough way. University seems the only viable way for students to stall their entrance into the world of work, or in this case lack thereof, and this is why each year the number of applicants for university increases, and why thousands of over-qualified graduates are applying for the same job.
Cameron is wrong for suggesting
'we can get rid of that snobbery that there are some degrees intrinsically better than others'and Farage is wrong for saying too many young people are going to university. People will always favour some degrees over others and we should encourage young people to expand their knowledge and education at university. This is not just an education in Theology or Physics, university is the perfect bridge into the real world where social skills are pushed to the limits as the state and public school students finally meet, and you learn to look after yourself independently. It would be wrong to cut the number of university places in order to boost the annual budget, supposedly to subsidise the fees for those who would get to attend university. Politicians need to accept that until something is done to improve employment rates for good, young people will continue to carry on their education into university, something that until recently was publicised as being the 'right' thing to do.