Since leaving sixth form, battling with UCAS and the Student Loans Company myself, it has evidently become more difficult to be given a place at university. At the same time, young people are being pressured into becoming more educated than ever before.
Government attainment targets such as league tables encourage schools and colleges to push students into applying for university. With cuts to university places, combined with increasing youth unemployment figures, the future for young people in this country is looking gloomy.
Media reports of “The lost generation: Unemployed, broke and disillusioned” merely worsen our situation. Positive sourcing of work such as social enterprise, skill development and entrepreneurship are all attainable attributes for new graduates to consider in these tough economic times.
Unpaid internships are at the forefront of hierarchical, class-based gaining of experience – with those in London, along with people who are given the means of borrowing money having a distinct advantage. Campaigns surrounding the inequality of unpaid internships such as Interns Anonymous and All Skilled Up, All Dolled Up are fighting for fairer internships.
What we need is a positive, inclusive message for young people and graduates. Being bombarded with defeatist rhetoric on a constant basis is dragging down our spirit. We went to university to learn more, to be more employable and to have a good time in the process. University has not prepared many of us for what we have found once we get off at the other end; mortarboard dislodged and certificate clasped in the queue at the Post Office.