Do all MC children go to University?

(47 Posts)
MarathonFan Mon 12-May-14 13:08:59

I didn't. Child of teachers, does that make me MC?! Anyway my question isn't really about class, it's about aspirations I suppose.

I grew up "expecting" to have a good job. I joined a large corporate straight from school (much to my parent's disgust) worked hard, got on their management scheme and ended up in a pretty senior professional position. Most of the board and senior managers at that time hadn't been to uni either. They sponsored me to do a degree later but by that time it didn't really have any material effect on my career.

However, the same company and most other like it don't take school leavers today. They take 21-24 yo graduates into the position I started in.

It worries me because DS1 (13yo) is bright enough but not at all academic, also a bit young for his age and I suspect might be a bit late to apply himself, like many of the male professionals I worked with. They spent their 20s messing about and only really got into their careers in their 30s.

What are the options for today's school leavers if they don't go to University? Is DS1 destined to do dead end jobs forever if he doesn't go to Uni (more or less) straight from school?

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 12-May-14 13:29:21

There are more opportunities than there used to be to do degrees later on, by part time or distance learning. Or he could simply go as a mature student later.

MarathonFan Mon 12-May-14 13:35:43

Yes, there are lots of opportunities to do degrees later but are there graduate job opportunities for older graduates? There aren't where I work - they take young graduates, or experienced people from competitors. In my time you could get the experience by going in as a school leaver but that option is no longer there.

singaporeswing Mon 12-May-14 13:42:53

My DBro left school at 18 and worked.

He's just been offered sponsorship in Australia for a sales job. He's 22, set to earn a fortune and living in a new country.

It's possible, yes. I'm living in a country however, where you do need to be a graduate in order to get a visa.

It really depends what he sets his sights on.

TheWordFactory Mon 12-May-14 13:47:03

Lot sof posters will comeon to give you lot of examples of people who have done really rather well without tertiary education.

However, the reality is that the job market has moved to a place where many previously accessible positions now require a degree.

In many ways it's completely silly and unneccessary, but it is what it is.

Fairylea Mon 12-May-14 13:47:07

I'm not at all convinced that having a degree makes much difference nowadays unless it's in something like medicine, law or a subject you can teach in. (I'm putting on my hard hat as we speak).

I think considering graduates are amongst the largest group of the unemployed it shows that employers are often putting experience above degrees. I think there is absolutely every good chance for someone without a degree to be as successful as someone with a degree.

Dh and I are very middle class. We both went to university but left before completing degrees. Dh left because he suffered with a serious illness and I left because my gran developed terminal cancer and I became her full time carer while she died at home with me. I had a successful career in marketing as a senior account manager for many years before deciding I actually hated and chucked it in to become a sahm. Dh works full time in retail management. I doubt having a degree would have made a jot of difference in either of our situations.

My sil has a first class degree in biology from a well respected university and has been unemployed for the last 4 years. Not for want of trying...

Of course this is all just my own experience and others will disagree. But I really think unless someone has a very particular career path in mind like being a surgeon or something like that getting out there and getting experience is just as valid as having a degree now.

noddyholder Mon 12-May-14 13:50:30

I think they do All my ds mates bar 2 have and none of them are doing medicine or engineering or anything job worthy! I also think its a waste of time in some cases as the £ is huge and degrees are 2 a penny. I know about 10 graduates and only one in work

MarathonFan Mon 12-May-14 13:51:39

Your career paths sound very similar to mine Fairylea. What worries me for Ds1 though is that those openings aren't there today (or are they?)

Don't most entry level marketing jobs go to graduates these days? Aren't the management schemes offered by the large retailers only open to graduates?

I absolutely agree that a degree is no guarantee of a good job but am starting to worry that there is no chance of a good job for today's young people without one IYSWIM

noddyholder Mon 12-May-14 13:53:54

I think either way you have to be very motivated. And pro active.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Mon 12-May-14 14:00:52

It depends how you define a good career really. There are plenty of apprenticeships available to school leavers nowadays (DS1 is 16 & we have spent many hours looking through the website). You only need GCSE's to apply & obviously, an apprenticeship is a good way of getting work experience, learning a trade etc.

Now, whilst these are great for people wanting to learn a trade (DS1 is going to college to do carpentry), whether you could get an apprenticeship as an Office Junior and work your way up to management level I really don't know. I would really hope you still can, but have been out of the office work environment for too many years to know if it is actually happening.

I was a MC child who didn't go to university BTW. My three siblings who did all earn vastly more than me now as a result, but that may be because they studied for professions (one is a Dr for example) rather than just any old degree.

Fairylea Mon 12-May-14 14:00:58

I understand what you're saying... but I think it's more of a grass roots operation in most retail companies now. Dh has worked in 3 major retailers and all of them promote from within very often from people who have started as Saturday staff as teenagers, then increased their hours to full time and then applied for management roles from there. Lots of retailers do have graduate schemes but there tends to be a lot of snobbery in that lots of the management actually prefer people who have come through the ranks as they know the roles inside out.

My ex also worked in retail management and started as a Saturday lad in sun care basically promoting sun cream and within 2 years he had become team manager for 17 staff. He is now an area manager. (He was a complete twat though hence the ex).

Dh is in his third management role but initially he just started somewhere 26 hours a week as a shop assistant because he was out of uni having left and needed some money and it had to be part time at that stage because of his health. Gradually he built up experience and went for manager roles.

Myself... Well I went down the office route. So I was receptionist, then they discovered I was pretty good at taglines and leaflets so they made me marketing Co ordinator. Then I applied for marketing roles elsewhere. Then I got bored and launched my own copy writing business. Bit of a disaster as I had no motivation on my own so I went to a marketing recruitment agency and did freelance work for a bit to build portfolio and then I eventually landed senior marketing manager role. Took me a while maybe (this was when I was 29).

I do think there are opportunities there to move into graduate type roles.. maybe it's just a case of building relative experience and developing contacts and references.

If he's not academic, then maybe a more vocational college course would suit him better. Or an apprenticeship. I don't think a degree is the only way to get on these days, but I think you're right that there are fewer opportunities if you leave school with just GCSEs, or even A levels. Some people do well for themselves from that, but they do need to be motivated, hardworking, really go for opportunities, and 'sell' themselves to their employer / potential employer.

And these days, with a higher proportion of people going to university, employers are likely to ask for all of that plus a degree, just because they can.

TheWordFactory Mon 12-May-14 14:40:24

noddyholder makes a very good point.

Having a deree is most certaily not enough in a lot of cases to accss decent employment.

And certain degrees are frankly access to nowt much at all and simply a way for the universities to put bums on seats.

That said, the job market for young people has shrunk dramatically, and those without an appropriate degree and the requisite motivation are floundering.

noddyholder Mon 12-May-14 14:40:26

One of ds best mates has rapidly risen the ladder in M and S with no degree. They are all rather jealous of him I think! When they are home he is at all the parties etc so not really missing out as there is always one of them home and is the only one with money/car etc.

noddyholder Mon 12-May-14 14:41:57

I think university nw is just the next step after school Children are still very dependent on parents etc and very much part of family life when back from what I see. It is not like when I went years ago when it was more like leaving home

Lilaclily Mon 12-May-14 14:51:16

Problem with apprenticeships is that 200 people apply for each one so very competitive where I live
& on £90 a week the teenager can't afford to move out
Or save to move out
Full time hours on £90 isn't a lot

MollyBdenum Mon 12-May-14 14:58:32

Non academic middle class children tend do non academic naice jobs with lots of cultural/social capital. They open cafes, or vintage shops, or become artisan cheesemakers or snowboarding instructors or yoga teachers or import interesting things from exotic countries or work with horses or gardens or flowers or work their up from a non graduate position in a friends business.

MarathonFan Mon 12-May-14 15:02:16

Oh dear Molly, he's doomed. We're not that MC!

noddyholder Mon 12-May-14 15:03:44

Thats not middle class thats gentry

MollyBdenum Mon 12-May-14 15:18:16

No, it's, middle class, too. I'm from a middle middle background and non graduates I grew up with work in similar jobs to those. Also delivering the post which is less glamorous.

Non academic middle class teenagers generally have parents who are willing to fund training or a business worth a similar amount to the costs of university and a network of people who will support them in their ambition.

Leeds2 Mon 12-May-14 15:23:40

I think I have read that the big accountancy firms (in London, possibly other major cities) have recently started taking on 18 year olds, post A Level, to train as chartered accountants. Would take them longer to qualify than someone with a degree, and would require the academics at A Level, but would be an opportunity for a good job without a degree.

turkeyboots Mon 12-May-14 15:31:29

My Dad now only hires MBA grads for what was a graduate entry position 10 years ago and school leaver position 20 years ago. Expansion of higher education has just upped the ante.

kinsorange Mon 12-May-14 15:44:05

I agree with Molly. They have money to back them up, so can start businesses. If they dont work, they start a different one. They may work something out by the third.

And yes, to the working in a friend's or friend of the family's business. And all the other things that she mentioned.
Because they are a lot freer, money wise, they can bum work around for a while until they find their feet. Hopefully.

kinsorange Mon 12-May-14 15:44:50

I dont think that accountancy firms have even required degrees. They are one of the few professions that dont.

kinsorange Mon 12-May-14 15:45:02

ever not even.

noddyholder Mon 12-May-14 15:50:35

My sister is an accountant no degree hugely successful.

I think we're in a time of transition. In the 80s a degree was still a bit special in its own right and my profession was largely non-graduate. Then there was a brief time when the "top" 40% were going to university either free or with very manageable loans (in retrospect). At that point, there was a transition for traditional non-graduate office employers. They suddenly found that the calibre of post-A level interviewees had plummeted, because most of the teens with really strong literacy and numeracy were going off to university. In order to recruit those students you had to look at graduates - there were still a few academically solid teens left in the post A level pool, but not a large enough share for it to be worth the effort of looking.

When fees went up, employers were still stuck in their new recruitment paradigm. While jobs were scarce, teens were stuck in an awful Red Queen's Race where you have to have a degree not because it's useful but to compete against everyone else who has a degree. But as the cost-benefit equation for student changes, and when (if ever) the jobs market recovers, then I think the market for bright, literate, numerate 18 year olds who don't fancy university (at the current price anyway) will recover. The accountancy firms have started the move, and I know at least one MC 19 year old chap who walked away from a firm university offer at the last minute to start a solid office-based career.

I think your 13 year old's age is in his favour - his generation should be OK again with any luck.

PortofinoRevisited Mon 12-May-14 17:41:03

Quite a few of my A'level year left to go to Gradute Training schemes with Banks and retailers vs University. That was 25 years ago. As Aintnobody says above - I think those times will return. The cost of HE no longer equates to the value you can get from it unless you are doing specific, sought after degrees.

grovel Mon 12-May-14 18:19:19

I agree, Portofino.

I also think that employers are beginning to recognise that paying "graduate salaries" for (sometimes) little added value is a mistake.

BackforGood Mon 12-May-14 18:34:31

I agree with TheWordFactory on P1.
My ds sounds like yours - only he's doing his A-levels now.
If you don't want to do a practical apprenticeship (or, I believe there are some accountancy ones - but again, that's not for him) then most jobs that we could have got after O-levels, or certainly A-levels, now ask for a degree sad
So, although people will know the odd one who has done well without, then mostly I think you do need a degree to apply for so many jobs now which really don't need degree level study.

mummytime Mon 12-May-14 18:43:13

There are quite a few Advanced Apprenticeships around, maybe he should look for one of those. Admittedly they often involve studying for a degree part time whilst doing the job, but they do pay and there is real world experience.

BackforGood Mon 12-May-14 18:49:22

Can you point me in the direction of those mummytime - all we've found are accountancy ones.

lavenderhoney Mon 12-May-14 18:58:05

Interesting to hear views.

My cousin at 30 is a manager of a bank and she didn't go to college or Uni, and did v badly at school, got into the wrong crowd, married the local loser. Divorced at 19, dead end jobs. By 25 she was scorching through levels at the bank, did accountancy exams in her spare time, and showing an acumen, financial wizardry, and approach to the corporate world and leadership - she is amazing with staff and so grounded for a second i thought she had been possessed! She is also married again ( how did she find the time?!) to a wonderful man.

I didn't go either to college or Uni, and everytime I was promoted my job was advertised as graduate only. Whereas before anyone ( ie me) could apply. Seems very unfair to me, even now.

My uncle was a scoundrel and sent to SA to get him away at 24 yrs. He bought a disused mine from someone in lieu of his wages ( when I say mine I mean a crappy hole that hadn't been developed) and discovered precious stones. He is now very rich.

Late developers, in our family. I have loads of family stories like this.

senua Mon 12-May-14 20:21:35

BackforGood: have you seen the NotGoingtoUni website?

hidingmystatus Mon 12-May-14 20:46:10

The big accountancy firms are now taking a number of 18 year olds. Look into it.

MarianForrester Mon 12-May-14 20:50:06

DSS didn't go to uni and is very happily working in a bank.

I really think the main thing is that they do something and enjoy it, be it education or a job.

Momonga Mon 12-May-14 20:57:57

I went to college (studied art, my parents wanted something wordy, I think!) but dropped out when I was offered the job I'm currently in. Many of our interns currently here have either not completed college or haven't gone at all, however, and many workers/ex interns didn't go to college therefore.

BackforGood Mon 12-May-14 21:59:13

Thanks Senua - we did look at it when he was going through a spell of not wanting to go to University, but I've not been on it for a while as he's decided he does want to go and have been working through all that entails. However, come results day, I wouldn't be surprised if we might have to reappraise, so will bookmark it. thanks.

BigBirdFlies Mon 12-May-14 22:20:51

Dniece (early 20's) dropped out of uni and has a good job in the west end. Not sure exactly what she's doing, but money is reasonable and she's doing as well as her sister who graduated with a first from a Russell Gp uni. She was never really into academia but is bright and motivated by money.

However, it is harder for young people now to not go to uni. The richest person I know didn't go to uni, but he's ancient early 40's so my age.

kinsorange Mon 12-May-14 22:42:37

One thing that has not been discussed much on here, is working for yourself. Or entrepreneurship.

It did used to irritate me greatly with the Richard Branson/Alan Sugar types, saying you dont have to be good at school. Look what I have done. Or others always quoting them.

Not many imo will end up being RB or AS. That is not to say that it isnt an option for some, but not that many.

blueshoes Mon 12-May-14 23:31:57

If you are a non-graduate working your way up an office ladder, would you not get annoyed if graduates with no experience get taken on above you?

lavenderhoney Tue 13-May-14 01:03:55

People are expected to have a degree now. I have sat in interviews where the just out of Uni interviewer looked down her nose at me and enquired why I hasn't gone. As though I'd been in prison or something.

It depends what field you are interested in and what options Uni will give you realistically at the end.

I worked for one company who had a graduates only hiring policy worldwide. I slipped under the netsmile it was hell though, lots of 22 yr olds going on and on about Uni / big trip backpacking and completely unable to have any practical input to anything ( talk good theory though) as they really had no real life business experience. Or interaction with people who were older, or you know, hasn't been to Uni...

TheWordFactory Tue 13-May-14 09:37:07

I think also that there has been a cohort of students who really ought not to have attended university at all.

They achieved their school qualifications through a mish mash of modules and resits, the end results not really a reflection of their ability.

Universities were then forced to respond, to some extent, to those students...

We have, as a country, dug ourselves into a bit of a mire!

Perhaps the return of linear GCSEs, might help?

tiggytape Tue 13-May-14 13:24:56

The expectation now is to have a degree.

Those in their 30's and above who has made it without a degree may have found this a perfectly good or even preferable route to take in their career but things have changed massively since then.

Jobs that barely required A Levels 15 years ago now require degrees. Not because the jobs themselves are of particular graduate level but simply because half of all young people get degrees therefore this has become the minimum looked for. Where being a graduate was once a mark of someone who may be fast tracked, it is now seen as proof of being vaguely competent.

I don't think the changes or shift in expectation are good for anyone really.

noddyholder Tue 13-May-14 13:26:55

My dp is handed at least 5 CVs per week from graduates mainly for a job he is doing with a handful of O levels! According to him they are no more likely to employ someone with a degree than without

kinsorange Tue 13-May-14 15:13:08

What sort of job though?
A creative/arts one?

sharingeverythingtwice Tue 13-May-14 15:20:25

I'm 36 and doing a degree for the first time, as when I wanted to return to work after being a SAHM for a number of years, even the types of job I started out doing at 18 such as basic admin etc. had a requirement for more qualifications than I had. What's depressing is the degree is not going to get me any further up the ladder it just makes me able to compete at the bottom. Whereas years ago having a degree would have given you a jump up the ladder. I hope to goodness that I actually do get a job at the end of it all or I will be upset.

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