Got A Degree…But What Next?

Academic achievement must go hand in hand with the right mindset

The next two months will see universities churning out thousands of very proud new graduates – BA Hons, BSc’s, the lot. A great education with brains packed full of new learning, knowledge and facts. But why do only 1 in 3 expect to get a job? How many of these bright new graduates have had their prospects limited by the conditioning of the external environment – the press and media telling them there are no jobs, whilst the economic conditions have (to a certain extent) limited prospects. How many of these young adults have been supported in life skills and getting their head in shape for the next stage of their life? How many walk away with a personal growth plan that defines very clearly how to move their life on and make the best of their three years spent at university? How many have thought creatively about next steps…charity work, setting up their own business, freelancing using the specialist skills they have acquired?

My view is that we have some of the best academic institutions in the world and we create some of the finest talent – but so many never realise their potential and end up in jobs that fall way below their true capability, with futures that lack direction, bouncing around from one job to another. It’s no use having a long list of qualifications if you don’t put them to best use. More effort and energy should be put into developing the creative and entrepreneurial mindsets that drive ambition and ultimately greater achievements.

I speak from experience – I left university in 1986 with a degree in Chemistry – great technical skills, but struggled having conversations, making presentations and generally selling myself to potential employers – no skills for life. I am not sure much has changed to be honest – I had to work it out for myself. We need to equip this next generation with a more rounded experience thereby allowing them to combine great academic qualifications with a mindset conducive to achievement and releasing personal potential. We must remember that we get what we think about – if we think there are no jobs then guess what…..?

Is the cap and gown; photograph that hangs on mum and dads wall and the handshake from the university chancellor the best send off we can give them? As well as the well-earned degree certificate, they should all leave with a “plan for life”.

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