Want to go home to UK

Old Dec 9th 2010, 5:25 pm
  #121  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
Sounds positively Victorian, doesn't it?

If Bush had just kept out of Afghanistan and Iraq, there would be plenty of public money to go around - I saw a "Billion dollar-o-gram" (a diagram with boxes that show comparative size of amounts of money) on TV last week and the comparative size of the cost of the Iraq War was astounding.
Yes if we got out of Afghanistan I think we could ride this recession out better.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 6:19 pm
  #122  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

I disagree on the student tuition stuff. I was the first in my family to go to college - and the only one of my generation of the family (all my cousins went out to work right away). If my education hadn't been free, there's no way I would have risked building up debt and I never would have earned my degree. My life would have been much less rich as a result, and I would never have contributed to the UK economy the way I did (and still do from over here because I hire UK freelancers to service my UK clients).

If you had asked me at 19 to express any of this gratitude, I wouldn't have been able to. But just because kids don't appreciate what they have when they are 19 doesn't mean they won't appreciate when they are 40, and it doesn't mean they will contribute any less to society.

In the US, the poor and uneducated are consigned to staying poor and uneducated - until now that hasn't been the case in the UK.

As for community service - that sounds great in principle, but I wonder who is supposed to assume the burden of supervising a bunch of people who don't want to be there. And how do those people also look for work? My brother is unemployed now for the second time in 12 months through no fault of his own. He can barely afford to live and is in danger of losing his home. He needs to spend every minute he can looking for work, not helping out on some community project to appease the Daily Mail.

These ideas always sound good in theory but they always wind up hurting the least fortunate. Always. As someone who has been relatively lucky in life, I have no problem helping people who have not.

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Old Dec 9th 2010, 6:41 pm
  #123  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by sallysimmons View Post
I disagree on the student tuition stuff. I was the first in my family to go to college - and the only one of my generation of the family (all my cousins went out to work right away). If my education hadn't been free, there's no way I would have risked building up debt and I never would have earned my degree. My life would have been much less rich as a result, and I would never have contributed to the UK economy the way I did (and still do from over here because I hire UK freelancers to service my UK clients).

If you had asked me at 19 to express any of this gratitude, I wouldn't have been able to. But just because kids don't appreciate what they have when tey are 19 doesn't mean they won't appreciate when they are 40, and it doesn't mean they will contribute any less to society.

In the US, the poor and uneducated are consigned to staying poor and uneducated - until now that hasn't been the case in the UK.

As for community service - that sounds great in principle, but I wonder who is supposed to assume the burden of supervising a bunch of belligerent, socially disruptive people who don't want to be there. And how do those people also look for work? My brother is unemployed now for the second time in 12 months through no fault of his own. He can barely afford to live and is in danger of losing his home. He needs to spend every minute he can looking for work, not helping out on some community project.

These ideas always sound good in theory but they always wind up hurting the least fortunate. Always. As someone who has been relatively lucky in life, I have no problem helping people who have not.
I think your first point is appropriate for a former time when high academic achievement was a prerequisite for entry to university (i.e., when you had to be in the top 10% of school leavers), and also if the current financial situation was an "all or nothing" proposition (i.e., everyone must pay high fees or not go to university). These days, the standards of university assessment and achievement have been dumbed down by a fake "widening of access".

In the midst of all the blustering, posturing and emotive anecdotal case studies going on in the House of Commons today, one MP actually resorted to presenting ojective statistical fact (shock horror!) rather than opinion surveys and black art prediction. The research he presented showed that high student fees, in combination with student bursaries and active marketing in low socioeconomic areas is actually associated with HIGHER enrollment among the socially disadvantaged. This was based on a comparison of actual university demographics in countries with varying levels of government subsidy.

Guess which university has the highest representation from lower socioeconomic groups? Harvard, with yearly fees > $30,000. They manage this by charging those who can afford to pay 100%, and using that money to provide partial or full bursaries to the less financially fortunate.

The problem with these very emotive subjects (as evidenced by today's debate in the Commons) is that neither side will accept the possibility of a middle ground, and the conversation is conducted in terms of absolutes (e.g., "it always winds up hurting the less fortunate"). This sort of language shuts out any possibility of trying to find a reasonable middle ground.

For this reason, the proposition of performing community service is presented almost in the same light as penal servitude - maybe it is an opportunity (to gain work experience, earn a good recommendation letter, build self-confidence), and I don't see why it can't be done on a part-time basis, in between which the person can apply for jobs if they so choose. I think your brother is in the minority - I find it diifficult to believe that the typical long-term unemployed person is spending 40 hours a week working on job applications.

Last edited by dunroving; Dec 9th 2010 at 6:52 pm.
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 3:12 am
  #124  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
But as someone who in the past has cleaned toilets, made beds, and washed dishes in a hotel kitchen so I would not have to sign on (and who paid dearly for a postgraduate education), I'm more than a little tired of working my backside off, and seeing a huge lump of my salary subsidizing people who are too lazy to take any work, or unwilling to take responsibility of keeping themselves healthy. There are two sides to every "fairness" argument and while I wouldn't want the UK to turn into the "I'm all right Jack" US society, I also think we have gone too far in the opposite diirection.
Dunroving, I understand the point you are making but times are very different from what they were back then and many people who would like to work and improve their situation are simply unable to do so by the sheer weight of economic reality.

Whilst I am not disputing what you say regarding the work ethic and desire to succeed vs sitting on one's backside watching the soaps all day (I also cleaned toilets and floors, served in canteens, and washed dishes in various establishments both in the UK and in Australia - both when I was a student and also after I graduated as I couldn't get a job in my field), globalisation; wages pressure on companies; the availability of cheap labour from immigrants, those with limited skills, underemployed graduates; and more recently the ability for companies to offshore to India and China at the push of a button, has made hitherto 'easy to get/unskilled' jobs that those who are unemployed 'should get out and do' more scarce and indeed, something to be sought after.

I have heard a report about 200 people competing for 2 positions at Burger King in Edinburgh. If this is true (and I don't know if it is) this must surely indicate that jobs even in the unskilled occupations we as students used to undertake, are not at all easy to get nowadays and not all people sitting on their backsides are doing it out of choice.
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 6:38 am
  #125  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

I have direct experience of family members leaving university in the last few years and taking low paid jobs in industries that previously, would have recruited school leavers with one or two GCSE passes. One family member ended up working in a warehouse on minimum wage for a year because he couldn't find a job in his area of qualification/expertise.

The world of work has changed radically and so too have the demands of employers. Most want a spotless cv, a willingness to go the extra mile and then some - for as minimal a wage or salary possible.

And job hunting is very, very time consuming. The relative working in the warehouse deliberately chose to do night shifts, leaving the days free for job applications and interviews. He was lucky. There were fifty applicants for his job when he moved on!
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 7:58 am
  #126  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by Wub View Post
I have direct experience of family members leaving university in the last few years and taking low paid jobs in industries that previously, would have recruited school leavers with one or two GCSE passes. One family member ended up working in a warehouse on minimum wage for a year because he couldn't find a job in his area of qualification/expertise.

The world of work has changed radically and so too have the demands of employers. Most want a spotless cv, a willingness to go the extra mile and then some - for as minimal a wage or salary possible.

And job hunting is very, very time consuming. The relative working in the warehouse deliberately chose to do night shifts, leaving the days free for job applications and interviews. He was lucky. There were fifty applicants for his job when he moved on!
Sad to say, this was an easily-predicted side-effect of Blair's "widening of education" - degrees are now the new GCSE in the eyes of many employers.
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 8:04 am
  #127  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by moonsurfer View Post
Dunroving, I understand the point you are making but times are very different from what they were back then and many people who would like to work and improve their situation are simply unable to do so by the sheer weight of economic reality.

Whilst I am not disputing what you say regarding the work ethic and desire to succeed vs sitting on one's backside watching the soaps all day (I also cleaned toilets and floors, served in canteens, and washed dishes in various establishments both in the UK and in Australia - both when I was a student and also after I graduated as I couldn't get a job in my field), globalisation; wages pressure on companies; the availability of cheap labour from immigrants, those with limited skills, underemployed graduates; and more recently the ability for companies to offshore to India and China at the push of a button, has made hitherto 'easy to get/unskilled' jobs that those who are unemployed 'should get out and do' more scarce and indeed, something to be sought after.

I have heard a report about 200 people competing for 2 positions at Burger King in Edinburgh. If this is true (and I don't know if it is) this must surely indicate that jobs even in the unskilled occupations we as students used to undertake, are not at all easy to get nowadays and not all people sitting on their backsides are doing it out of choice.
I certainly wasn't trying to say it's easy to get a job (believe me, I thank my lucky stars every day that I am in a secure - fingers crossed - job). If I was unemployed for any length of time, however, I would welcome the opportunity to do ANYTHING (community service, volunteering) other than sit around all day. That is why I think the idea of unemployed people being given something to do is a good one. I wish the media would stop painting the idea solely as a punishment for being unemployed.

They could start with clearing up all the mess left by last night's protests over tuition fees rises.
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 11:22 am
  #128  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
Sad to say, this was an easily-predicted side-effect of Blair's "widening of education" - degrees are now the new GCSE in the eyes of many employers.
So, so, so true.

I have spent many an hour explaining to my 16 year old (who would be the first to be hit by the new fees) when he tries to act superior because I did not go to university, that when I left school only the cream of my grammar school went on to uni - those destined for "professional" careers.

The likes of myself and the majority of the school went to college for a couple of years to do business studies or pre-nursing courses etc or straight into work.

We were lucky in our household, because despite only having a handful of dodgy GCEs (proper O'levels!!) we both have good, secure, well paid jobs gained through hard graft, committment and years of experience (and I know many people in our age group in the same situation).

Many employers today would not take a kid straight from school with a few GCSEs now, they want a graduate to do an office junior role!

In our family situation, I am struggling to justify years and years of debt in exchange for a mediocre degree that by rights you should not need and should be able to train for "on the job" on a small salary as an 18 year old and work through the ranks.
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 1:21 pm
  #129  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by aries_bird View Post
So, so, so true.

I have spent many an hour explaining to my 16 year old (who would be the first to be hit by the new fees) when he tries to act superior because I did not go to university, that when I left school only the cream of my grammar school went on to uni - those destined for "professional" careers.

The likes of myself and the majority of the school went to college for a couple of years to do business studies or pre-nursing courses etc or straight into work.

We were lucky in our household, because despite only having a handful of dodgy GCEs (proper O'levels!!) we both have good, secure, well paid jobs gained through hard graft, committment and years of experience (and I know many people in our age group in the same situation).

Many employers today would not take a kid straight from school with a few GCSEs now, they want a graduate to do an office junior role!

In our family situation, I am struggling to justify years and years of debt in exchange for a mediocre degree that by rights you should not need and should be able to train for "on the job" on a small salary as an 18 year old and work through the ranks.
If I were a parent of a high school graduate, I'd be suggesting a) try to get a job (ANY job) and som life experience for a few years, then b) get a degree through the Open University.
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 2:05 pm
  #130  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

http://www.http://www.newstatesman.c...tempt-protests

Take a look at this link about student protests. Makes you think..
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 2:19 pm
  #131  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by Wub View Post
http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/cu...tempt-protests

Take a look at this link about student protests. Makes you think..
Something wrong with your link - I think this one will work: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/cu...tempt-protests

(I tried fixing your link above and it may work now also)
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 3:08 pm
  #132  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
If I were a parent of a high school graduate, I'd be suggesting a) try to get a job (ANY job) and som life experience for a few years, then b) get a degree through the Open University.

I am trying my best to open his eyes a bit! just hoping that whilst he does his A Levels he will mature a bit, start wanting those things like driving lessons, a car etc and think again and look at the bigger picture.

The thing is his dad is in the position of being able to offer him an apprentice type role now on a starting salary of 10k and he won't entertain it............. he needs to grow up.

Good suggestion about the Open University though, doesn't have to be all or nothing.
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 4:29 pm
  #133  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by aries_bird View Post
I am trying my best to open his eyes a bit! just hoping that whilst he does his A Levels he will mature a bit, start wanting those things like driving lessons, a car etc and think again and look at the bigger picture.

The thing is his dad is in the position of being able to offer him an apprentice type role now on a starting salary of 10k and he won't entertain it............. he needs to grow up.

Good suggestion about the Open University though, doesn't have to be all or nothing.
It's hard when they are that age and think they are worth so much more and deserve so much more. If he won't take a 10k apprenticeship I bet he'll have lots of applicants for the job, maybe it's time to cut back on what you pay for and have him start forking over for his own luxuries in life. I know we had Ds find a job and pay his own car insurance and petrol he had very little left over, but after a year of doing that he became a lot more frugal.
I also made a deal with him at 16, I'll pay the first driving lesson (they have to have three professional ones here) I'll pay half the second lesson and he had to pay for the third. I kept reminding him of the cost and start putting aside the money and he did it reluctantly, but it was a good lesson.
We did the same for the one thats 16 now, but he a more eager saver and has his own plans
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 4:37 pm
  #134  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
It's hard when they are that age and think they are worth so much more and deserve so much more. If he won't take a 10k apprenticeship I bet he'll have lots of applicants for the job, maybe it's time to cut back on what you pay for and have him start forking over for his own luxuries in life. I know we had Ds find a job and pay his own car insurance and petrol he had very little left over, but after a year of doing that he became a lot more frugal.
I also made a deal with him at 16, I'll pay the first driving lesson (they have to have three professional ones here) I'll pay half the second lesson and he had to pay for the third. I kept reminding him of the cost and start putting aside the money and he did it reluctantly, but it was a good lesson.
We did the same for the one thats 16 now, but he a more eager saver and has his own plans
I'm sure in time they will look back and be grateful for the life lesson ... I know it's a hackneyed expression, but money doesn't grow on trees ...
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Old Dec 10th 2010, 9:24 pm
  #135  
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Default Re: Want to go home to UK

Originally Posted by aries_bird View Post
So, so, so true.

I have spent many an hour explaining to my 16 year old (who would be the first to be hit by the new fees) when he tries to act superior because I did not go to university, that when I left school only the cream of my grammar school went on to uni - those destined for "professional" careers.

The likes of myself and the majority of the school went to college for a couple of years to do business studies or pre-nursing courses etc or straight into work.
This is soooo true, when I was at grammar school the only people who went to uni were the cream of the crop, the future doctor and barrister types, the real swots, for the rest of us it didn't even come up on the agenda.

Now university seems to be more like college, I know some newer uni graduates and people who go now and am stunned..............
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