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How do people change career when jobs that used to be learned on the job now require a degree?

(5 Posts)
CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 22-Oct-15 21:55:36

How the hell do people manage a major career change these days if you already have done a degree years ago specific to your current role and so don't qualify for a Student loan in a degree in a completely unrelated area. So many jobs nowadays need a degree before you've even started. I'm thinking of my sister who is in a medical physics job which is now degree entry only. She started as a youngster on a teeny salary but her evening course at uni one day a week was part of her training which was on the job the rest of the week. Once she got her professional qualification she progressed up the career ladder accordingly as she was then much more experienced at the actual practical parts of the job too, not just the theory which her qualification provided. She was telling me how they only take graduates in her particular area now, which she doesn't find sensible as they start on a fairly decent salary knowing lots of theory but nothing much of any practical use and STILL need massive amounts of on the job training.

I have a few questions. Why do people want to commit to, and pay for, a degree in a very specific career area before they even know if they have an aptitude for the job? My sister thinks it's madness. There is no room for youngsters to try out the job and work their way up.

The other major problem as I see it is: if you want to have a change of career years down the line there are a lot of things which are automatically ruled out because they require a degree and if you already have one you don't for funding for another one.

When did the world of work become so complicated that jobs which you used to be able to work your way up in now require a degree, thereby forcing you into staying in that sector because it's so hard to switch to something different?

daisychain01 Fri 23-Oct-15 17:52:39

I don't necessarily agree that you become a "victim" of your original degree.

I think people need to become a lot more creative at repurposing skills, shaping their CV to highlight - here are the qualifications I have and here are my capabilities and talents which I can apply to your company's vacancy

The reason a degree is stipulated is often because it gives an assumed level of knowledge so they can sift thru CVs and reduce the candidate pool. If an applicant can really shine on their CV that can provide them with an opening.

I know it is a bit of a generalisation but I can honestly say the approach has opened significant doors for me.

Plus a massive dollop of enthusiasm and never-give-up attitude!!

EBearhug Fri 23-Oct-15 19:39:04

I don't think a degree necessarily restricts you to a particular sector - for many jobs, it's just a degree that's required - a lot of it is just down to filtering, as there are so many people with degrees now, it's a simple way of ignoring some of the applications. But it is also because you should be able to expect graduates to have a certain level of analytical skills, to be able to write and so on.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 24-Oct-15 15:57:58

Hmmmm.....I can see what you're saying with regards to transferable skills when you have a degree in a particular subject area.

But I guess I'm talking about more vocational degrees at ex-polys. what is the point in, for example, a degree in computing forensics (which are becoming very popular), if when they get a job, just need training up for a couple of years anyway in the procedures and software that particular organisations use? Why can't A-levels be enough proof for potential in a particular field, plus academic ability, like they used to be years ago? I hear so many friends and relatives who have worked in their field for years complaining that they get these degree entry newbies starting who come in thinking they're experts, and they're shocked at how much further training they need to be able to actually do the job.

I just think there are far too many young people going for degrees because it looks good for the school's leaver stats, or because it's just the expected route nowadays if you have a brain. And most of all, idiot managers in lots of sectors have taken it upon themselves to say "oh yes, well, we all need to be very brainy to do this job, don't we? Let's change the entrance criteria to requiring a degree, that'll sort the wheat from the chaff." It doesn't, though, it just means more poor 18 year olds are pushed into 3 more years of academi education for no apparent reason, when they could have been training on the job from 18, acquiring proper technical skills, earning a salary, gaining general employment skills and studying for a further qualification at night school if it became obvious they had good potential in that field.

It would also enable Young people to discover early that they actually had no aptitude in a particular area but they would still be young enough to switch to something else and try that out. Expecting EVERY 18 year old to know precisely what job they want to do and spend 3 years training for (and paying for) is ridiculous . It's different for medicine, dentistry and law and the like. Students going into those areas generally have a huge desire to go down that route. Most 18 year olds have a good clue what they're good at it, but don't have enough knowledge of life or of the world of employment to know what they actually COULD do. Crazy to make these big decisions based on such little knowledge at 18. Absolutely crazy.

Blushingm Thu 12-Nov-15 12:59:21

I've just given up my job of 17 years and am now a student nurse. All nursing is now degrees so 3 years as a student for me. The biggest difficulty I'm finding is the loss of my salary as the bursary is minimal

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