From education to work, a personal perspective, a short story by mark68. Date added: 2011-07-14. Times viewed: 897.
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- Intro: My education and work experiences for the past 20 years
This is my education to work story.
I was in a very low skilled and lowly paying job without any qualifications when I saw an advert in a newspaper for an Open University course. I applied, did the entry maths test, got some assistance with the finance and started T102 Living with technology, which was in 1991. It was really difficult as I was working full time as well, I would study in my lunch breaks and evenings, I had one of those new fangled computers as part of the course and really enjoyed getting to grips with it. I passed it well and got an unconditional offer to study Information Science at Aberystwyth University in 1992 (this course made my education al jump from bottom 20% to top 30% of the population). I found that a reasonable course, but it was paired with maths and statistics for some reason, and I failed them both, my mistake for not reading the small print, however, I did get two grade As for Information Science in 1993. (studying this course was at about the top 10% of the population at the time)
I took a year out and went back to study in 1994. I graduated in 1996 with an HND (about top 20% of the population), then topped up to a science degree in 97 (at the time top 10% at degree level, with only 4% studying science), I couldn't find work so I opted for an MBA, I passed a Post graduate diploma in Business Administration in 2001 (about top 3% of the population at the time), but I still couldn't find work so I went back to university to become a teacher in 2002. I graduated with a PGCE in 2003 (About top 4% of the population at the time) and then worked as a teacher of further education for another two years, one level below senior lecturer in 2005. My rent was £750 a month for a studio flat, living in the same building as people on the social, yet costing nearly all of my £24,000 a year just to live there, the dollar was 2 to the pound at the time so that was $48,000 a year and I could barely afford a studio flat. Housing had increased from an average of £65,000 in 1997 to over £200,000 by 2005, way above my ability.
After resigning from teaching in 2005 I found that I couldn't find work again, so after much contemplation applied for another PGCE in secondary education two and a half years ago and was offered a place, but I decided not to do the course for various reasons. I applied for more work without any luck; I volunteered to pass the time. I was offered an unconditional offer to study a masters degree last year, but couldn't afford the costs, so carried on looking for work all of last year without any luck. I have been offered another unconditional offer for a master’s degree at one of this country's top universities for October and I have applied for a career development loan to pay the £6,500 fees.
I have applied for nearly 300 jobs in the last few years, with a handful on interviews and no offers, but education is a different story. What I think I'm trying to say is that education should lead effortlessly to work, just as a matter of fact. If I can get on these courses and pass them, it should follow that work goes without saying.
My fear is that having spent another year and a large amount of money, I will find myself in the same situation again, but with a head stuffed full of more senior professional education without an outlet.
You know a few years ago, I was still paying back my living expenses loan from working as a teacher in London and was on benefits, it took nearly all I had just paying it back, when other people were getting the same level of living from benefits all along. I had to make Christmas presents for the first time in my life, I also found I couldn't borrow money anywhere or work at any level, I was well and truly stuck at the bottom, and you know what it just isn't right!
There was an idea of 50% of young people going to university a few years ago; I think it came straight from the mad hatter's tea party!
It's not that it hasn't been interesting, it's just that I have felt unwanted regardless of the efforts I have made to improve both myself and my situation, afterall, I needed enhanced criminal record checks to become a teacher as one of the requirements, they were some of the strictest checks ever put in place in any country, I felt it was a card to a better future, not something that would be dismissed as worthless within two years. It's all very upsetting.
I went from the bottom educationally to the top 10% within a few years and then to top 4% with two post graduate qualifications at level 7, one level below doctor. According to direct.gov senior professional/manager level able to make decisions in complex and unpredicatble situations, at the forefront of an academic discipline etc.
Years of study and preparation followed by nothing time and time again, I know we shouldn't complain and it's nothing to do with anyone else, but it seems kind of cruel to expect the best standards in our higher education system only to ignore the results of the unwanted graduates. You have a head full of facts and academic discipline and yet you are left to mix it up with people who have never gone through any of the process, after all about 55% of the working population is at level 2 or below. I taught at level 5 and it's meaningless. It can be very upsetting to be left on the shelf and be told it's your fault.
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