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Qualified For Life?

Listening to the radio it would appear to be the annual A Level results day. This in turn means that the CBI will engage in their usual moaning about how education fails people. I don’t believe this, but then the CBI is the enemy. Certainly there are kids that don’t come out of school with a good education, but that’s always been the case. This idea that, now, kids are leaving school in their droves completely uneducated is crap. It’s just the weird expectations of out of touch business types not wanting to invest in people’s training. It’s going to take a lot to convince me otherwise.

So I’m listening to a bunch of kid being interviewed about their expectations and their result and what they want to do with them. Someone wants to be an accountant (dream the dream my friend); another person is studying politics already. All of them are talking about a world I no longer recognise, and when even they face the likelihood of unemployment under this government what chance do I stand?

When I was at school, there were no computers. Not unless you count the BBC microcomputer that was only good enough for the one kid who knew how to program his name scrolling across the screen endlessly. We certainly didn’t have Windows or Office or anything like that, and were never taught even rudimentary computing. I look at jobs these days and 90% want knowledge of Excel/Office if not some specialist software (such as payroll or accounting software you’d never learn in school). What chance do I have to even learn these when the Work Programme won’t even pay for people to do this. Though if I’m honest I have no interest in such jobs and I doubt the learning experience, given that I have a learning disability, would be fun. I certainly can’t afford the software or even a pc that can run the latest iteration thereof (if that’s important).

None of these issues are even discussed: the longer you remain out of work the less seriously you are taking because, curiously, the lazier you are seen. This is the problem the sick face; if you have a condition that doesn’t get better over time, or at least a short period, it’s seen as less credible. That doesn’t make sense, but that’s the attitude. Then you factor in dealing with support services, where they exist at all I’m thinking of GP’s and the likes of Work Psychologists, though sometimes I think the one I saw is the only one in existence) who ignore the real issues and just fob you off with the belief that work cures all ills. All of this creates a background noise; a message that ignores the real issues, that leaves you isolated and without support while sounding the exact opposite.

I don’t know how people like me, of my generation, are ever going to break through. The kids today have way more qualifications than were ever available when I studied. I was in the second year of the GCSE and I only have 4 credible qualifications; they told us that GCSE’s were different because any grade, except F, was a valid qualification, but it turned out that only grades A – C mattered. That’s the old O Level equivalent. What was the point then? Now kids have A Star, they have the chance the learn much more than I ever could and seem to come away with bucket loads of grades I cannot compete with that make me look completely hopeless. Qualifications and courses that weren’t even available to me are routinely earned by kids coming through these days – and in numbers that belie the CBI’s moaning.

Today is my friend’s stepchild’s birthday; he’s giving here, amongst other things, His old smartphone. I don’t own such a thing even now, never mind when I was a kid that such things were the stuff of science fiction. It just goes to show how the world has changed for people of my age and older. How do we stand a chance?


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