A young married woman complained to me the other day that for a long time she and her husband had been trying to obtain a mortgage, and now the mortgage rates were going up yet again their target was vanishing over the horizon. They are a hard-working couple, he with a university degree in Media Studies for which he cannot get a job, and still has a postgraduate loan to pay back. This little occurrence raises a number of questions in my mind. Why is it that the money people, the banks etc, who must be aware that every action that they take has often grave repercussions especially to those on low income levels and choose to ignore the fact?
I often hear of students selecting to study subjects that I believe have a limited requirement in the job market, sometimes because there may be a cache in studying the subject, or because it is easier. I can remember when I used to train graduates who came straight from university with good degrees, having to bring them down to my level because that was what the job required. At university they had been trained to design some of the latest, costliest and most complicated structures, which they would never come across unless they were working for a very exceptional, specialised firm.
In the world of commerce one of the rules that all people generally have is that of supply and demand. It is only a fool who stocks up his shop without reference to what he is likely to sell and yet I question whether there is an assessment of the universal demand of the various subjects being studied related to the demand by industry, the government and the private sector. When you get the sort of credit crunch that we have at the moment, when well educated, well trained specialists are actually losing their jobs, not to have some knowledge of supply and demand of the various trades, professions, and opportunities is surely inadequate. That information will be of considerable help to those advising youngsters what they study, or if indeed a university degree is the correct option. These advisers must be able to give sensible advice, based on facts, not as I suspect, guesswork. These kids are entitled to at least choose the better of several options, even if those on offer are not what they had hoped to find. Education is going to cost them money that they can ill afford, and only if they get a job at the end of their training are they going to get out of the quagmire of debt. By the same token, any student who does not finish the course, or fails to obtain work in his chosen subject is wasting the bursary.