Up For Hire: Is University a Waste of Time?


With the number of young people finding themselves unemployed drastically on the rise, the BBC has launched “Up For Hire”, aimed at looking at the employment issues facing todays young people on their route to finding work.

The debate on yesterday’s (Tuesday 18th October) debate, was whether University is a waste of time, and being a subject that really cuts at the  bone, I felt that this was something that I wanted to share my opinion on.

I’d known that I would go to University from the age of nine, when my older brother headed off to Uni himself. However, when it came to leaving School, the choice really came down to the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know what kind of career I wanted to get into, and I just felt like University was the perfect opportunity to give me time to figure that out, whilst gaining some valuable life experience.

During yesterday’s debate, a lot of the consensus against going to Uni was that “mickey mouse courses”, such as media-based ones were a “waste of time” and should be scrapped so that University is reserved for the people who should “really” be there. But, in my honest opinion, I think that these people completely missed one of the fundamental points of going to University.

Going to University, for me at least, was not solely about gaining a degree, although this was an important factor. Other key factors included:

  • Gaining valuable life experience
  • Learning to take care of myself in a financial sense, as well as cooking, cleaning etc.
  • Gaining a sense of maturity and independence, allowing me to grow as a person, in to a responsible young adult
  • Allowed me to learn beside other people who shared my passion for writing
  • Gave me the time to figure out what I wanted out of my life, without forcing me into specialising in an area that in however many years time, I might decide isn’t for me.

Yes, it’s true that my degree didn’t exactly get me a job, but I honestly don’t think that I would be following a career path that I love, if I hadn’t gone to University. So, in a sense, I was keeping doors of opportunity open, whilst hopefully opening others.

Working World.

I definitely agree that University is not suitable for everyone, and many careers can be gained minus a degree. However, my biggest grievance with my time at University, is the fact that whilst I may be qualified to do a job, I have often been overlooked, because I don’t have enough relevant experience. And, this is where I feel that University needs to change.

I believe that it should be compulsory for all University Students to undertake work experience, as part of their course. That could be for a whole year, a semester, or on a once-a-week basis, like a backwards Apprenticeship.

However, instead of doing what I understand some University’s do, whereby they encourage students to undertake work placements, but offer no real help, I think that each course should include an organised programme to help place each student into a suitable placement for what they are looking to gain at the end of their degree.

Have you all been following the Up For Hire debates? What do you think of the series? Do you think that University is a waste of time?


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