The Trouble With Uni

Has the current employment market made going to University redundant?
With large scale unemployment spreading across the UK, and thousands of
University leavers left without jobs, radio documentary “The Trouble With
Uni” explores whether being a graduate is enough to get a job.

Image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/

The Labour Party had an aspiration that half of all school leavers would go on to higher education. However with unemployment figures amongst young people hitting a record high 1 million, we must wonder if having more graduates is really a viable solution, or if young adults should be encouraged to pursue any available jobs straight out of college.

“The Trouble With Uni” is a journey through London, recorded from the viewpoints of employees and employers alike to try and bridge the gap and find out what qualities and advantages one needs to find a job in this current economic climate. More specifically, if having a university degree really does put you in a better position to enter the world
of work.

In July 2011 there were 1.56 million people claiming Job Seekers Allowance, a figure which has been increasing by approximately 37,000 people a month. Parallel to this, last year saw a record number of students applying to Universities; meaning that while the number of graduates is rising, so is the number of people unable to find work.

While University students are paying thousands of pounds for a degree (an amount which will only be increasing as of September 2012), college leavers have a three year head start on their classmates who pursued higher education, when it comes to seeking employment. The question is, who stands a better chance of getting a job. There was a time when acquiring a degree was something special, now however, with so many different universities, courses and different degrees being awarded every year, it is possible that employers have now started to look for something other than this generic qualification?

 

To find out more about unemployment statistics in the UK visit National Statistics Online.

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Queen of Royal Memorabilia

They say your home is your castle, yet this really is the case for one South Kenton lady. Margaret Tyler, 67, holds what is thought to be the biggest collection of Royal memorabilia in the country, with every possible space … Continue reading

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Bernie: The Battered Face Of Hublot

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is the new face of Hublot, black eye and all.

Bernie Ecclestone, picture from wareground.com

After being attacked by four men on 25th November for his Hublot watch, Bernie Ecclestone sent pictures of his battered face to the Swiss watch boss.

Alongside the picture, he enclosed a note which read: “See what people will do for a Hublot”. The very same dark humoured message now fronts the advert for Hublot, accompanied by the battered face of Mr Ecclestone.

Mark Ritson, Marketing Week columnist says that this original advert will ensure Hublot’s advertising stand out from the “boring, product based, generic tat”.

The advert has since come under some fire for being distasteful and “insensitive” with regards to victims of crime. A Victim Support spokesman however told the BBC: “Everyone reacts differently to crime. It appears Bernie Ecclestone can make light of the incident and get on with his life”.

Mr Ecclestone was mugged last month outside his office in Central London. Regarding the incident, he said: “I can understand people wanting to rob me when they are poor and they want some things for the kids with Christmas coming along, but what they did was unnecessary”.

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Britain: A Nation Of Idiots.

As the World Education Rankings have been published, it appears Britain is falling behind their foreign peers in maths, reading and science.

Pisa rankings have revealed that Britain is ranked 28th in Maths and 25th in Reading. Shanghai-China is ranked first in the world for education while the US did not manage to make the top 30 cut in maths.

It appears in the last three years Britain have fallen behind counries such as Estonia, Norway and Iceland.

According to the 2009 Programme for Internation Student Assessment, Britain has fallen from 17th in 2006 to 25th among reading skills for 15-year-olds. Commenting on these rankings, Andreas Schleicher, head of the Pisa programme said: “I think the picture is stagnant at best, whearas many other countries have seen quite significant improvement”.

Secretary for education Michael Gove said there will be another “pisa shock” if we do not focus on tighening school regulations such as dicipline and seek to raise “the prestige of the teaching proffesion”.

The study reveals that 18.5% of Britain’s 15-year-olds are operating below reccomended reading levels which could pose problematic in aquiring further education and getting a job.

Problems also extend to Wales who are performing worse than any home nation in all core subjects. Education experts blamed a “whole system failure” for Wales and Education Minister Leighton Andrews has said that schools are simply “not delivering”.

To view the full list click here.

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Baywatch Babe Given “Naked” Body Scan.

Donna D'Errico. Picture from http://www.hecklerspray.com

Former Baywatch actress claims to have been singled out for “naked” body scan for being attractive.

Donna D’Errico was left “outraged” after being told to pass through the full body scanner at LAX International Airport. The actress believes she was targeted by TSA security for being attractive. The actress and former Playboy model says she felt humiliated by the airport security.

Ms D’Erric said: “It is my personal belief that they pulled me aside because they thought I was attractive”. The guard had picked her out of line in Los Angeles and ordered her to go through the “naked” scanner.

The body scanners are used to detect hidden objects a passenger may be carrying under their clothes and in doing so leave very little to the imagination.

“After the search, I noticed that the male TSA agent who had pulled me out of line was smiling and whispering with two other TSA agents and glancing at me. I was outraged” she said.

The new checks have come under criticism for their invasive nature however the TSA has defended them, claiming they are necessary to protect America from terrorist threats.

‘My boyfriend looks much more like a terrorist than either I or my son do, and he went through security with no problems,’ she claimed. While the former actress is uncertain whether the guards recognised her, she insists she was singled out for being attractive.

“It isn’t right to hide behind the veil of security and safety in order to take advantage of women, or even men for that matter” D’Errico added. The TSA however stand by the safety measures and deny the claims made by the former actress.

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Firefighters unite against spending cuts

Firefighters brought their fight against spending cuts to Westminster yesterday. Firebrigade units from across the country attended a parliamentary lobby in hope of forcing MPs against further cuts on the frontline which has already eroded their ability to respond efficiently, The Firebirgade Union announced. 

 

The Firebrigade Union (FBU) says that the new “modernisation” agenda has created worse services.

MPs, union representatives and parliamentary support groups spoke at the conference yesterday morning. The general consesnsus, I saw, was to unite the union in a fight against the government.

Increased buearaucracy and cheif fire officers are getting more funding while the government wants to cut spending among the frontline.

What the cuts mean

 

A 25-40% cut in the firebrigae’s budget means that:

  •  10,000 jobs will be axed,
  • Pay freezes over the next two years will ultimately result in pay cuts
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“Tough times” call for redundancies and station closures for a more efficient force.



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Barroso: “Most challenging task that the world has ever set itself”.

In the opening ceremony for the European Development Days, the President of the European Commission described the UN MDGs as “the most challenging task that the world has ever set itself”.

However, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso maintained his belief that the goals can still be achieved, despite discouraging results from the recent UN summit in New York.

Barroso said: “We cannot just stand on the sidelines. We need to act.”

The EDDs are taking place in Brussels between 6th and 7th December and Barroso expressed their importance as a preparatory exercise for meetings to discuss development in Istanbul in spring.

The days will feature conferences, seminars and debates from international NGOs, heads of states and political figures.

Barroso drew reference to the current situation in the Cote D’Ivoire as an example of how politics can cause poverty and instability, and why it is a moral imperative that the EU act to lift countries out of poverty.

Barroso described the European Development Days as “Europe’s window on the world of development” and hope that they would continue to place the EU as a development paradigm for the rest of the world.

The EU is currently the world’s largest single donor of aid.

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Prince Philippe opens European Development Days

Prince Philippe delivered a rousing speech to open the fifth European Development Days.

The event is taking place in Brussels on 6th and 7th December and will involve a series of conferences, seminars and public addresses on the theme of EU development assistance.

Prince Philippe expressed: “The route to being open to the world is knowing who you are yourself and knowing your own roots.”

In particular he focused upon the importance of the development of the human being as a whole, and thus the equal importance of the 2015 MDG goals which countries across European are committed to meet.

The Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme, also spoke at the opening ceremony and expressed similar hopes that the event would be a chance to “reflect on the future of aid”, and encourage cooperation between state leaders and NGOs.

He described his “one single goal” for the event of “envisaging together how to do things better” Encouraging mutual recognition of our differences and our diversities.

In particular he congratulated EU countries who have maintained their commitment to development aid despite the current economic crisis. Belgium has already met the MDG target of 0.7% GNI.

Along with Prince Phillipe, Leterme expressed the importance of understanding that human development is more than just economic.

“The human being has to be at the centre of development. We have to help people to become more aware and make their own choices”, he said.

Madhav Kumar Nepal (Prime Minister of Nepal), Jose Manuel Durao Barroso (President of the European Commission), Jerzy Buzek (President of the European Parliament), Dr Lesley Anne Knight (EU ambassador of the European Year and Dominique Strauss-Kahn (President of the European Commission) also spoke at the opening ceremony.

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EU Aid Efficiency Challenges

The EU needs to ensure maximum efficiency in its aid delivery methods if the 2015 MDGs are to be reached, according to a representative from EuropeAid.

Phillipe Loop (Head of Information, Communication and Front Office at EuropeAid) expressed how the “go there and fix it” approach is no longer effective, and that international aid efforts should be “geared towards supporting developing countries in their own efforts”.

The EU is dedicated to the UN MDG to spend 0.7% GNI on international development within its original member states (0.33% in new member states) by 2015. However the success of such expenditure is dependent on aid delivery efficiency, particularly if the aid budget reduces due to the current economic crisis faced by some European countries.

Previous aid delivery has focused around ‘projects’, activities with specific objects and defined timelines. However such work is expensive and aid often does not reach the most under-represented communities. Aid delivery is now being targeted towards other methods which involve supporting partner governments.

Loop described “the rolls royce of development” as ‘general budget support’, or large monetary transfers to a partner country in support of a national development policy.

The success of aid efforts is measured by a result-orientated monitoring system. Visits are conducted once every six months and results are assessed by impacts which are both immediately visible and forecast wider impact. However Loop admitted that it remains difficult to measure the impact of particular aid delivery methods, as impact relative to aid is difficult to assess. “To measure that you need time. You need a longer track record”, he said. “We will most likely never have a system that will be 100% proof.’

He also highlighted the difficult of collecting accurate data in many developing world countries.

Loop also identified weaknesses in the current delivery of aid and the MDGs themselves. He suggested that the focus has been too much on primary education, as despite the fact that EU funding has put 1 million more pupils through primary education, such results are not reflected in secondary education.

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