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lincs

All This Uni Talk Has Got Me Thinking

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I've been looking at a career change recently. I've been doing pretty meaningless admin jobs for the last few years now so you could argue I havent really started one yet. Problem seems to be that employers all seem to want either degrees of some kind or substantial experience in that area just to apply neither of which I have at 25 (my own fault). I've been contemplating going to uni to do a Mech Engineering degree as I feel this at least will give me something to offer. Problem is these days it feels like everyone has a degree, so is it really worth it?

I know there are a lot of switched on folks on this board so do you reckon its worth bothering anymore or will anyone without a good degree or established career be washed up in a few years time? Does anyone know what the future of the engineering sector is like, especially graduate type jobs? Will there continue to be plenty of engineering opportunites abroad or are they all going to be taken up by the next batch of chinese/indian graduates that these deveopling nations seem to be knocking out. What would you do in my situation (other than drop off the nearest bridge to avoid the inevitable mess much of the youth of this country are heading into!).

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My 2 cents. The decision is yours alone to make. I would be looking at job descriptions for your dream job to see what is required. Consider the opportunity cost of being at university for 3 years alone with the cost of the degree etc. I would be getting into something quick though you want something under your belt before you hit 30.

Health, engineering, science are supposedly growth areas for the future, Your shout though fella.

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a level of financial security, job satisfaction but don't want to spend life stressing about work.

So what kind of job will bring you satisfaction? The people who usually achieve what you want tend to have a burning desire to be in the line of business they want from a relatively young age. If you don't have that I suspect uni may be a waste of money and your time.

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I've been looking at a career change recently. I've been doing pretty meaningless admin jobs for the last few years now so you could argue I havent really started one yet. Problem seems to be that employers all seem to want either degrees of some kind or substantial experience in that area just to apply neither of which I have at 25 (my own fault). I've been contemplating going to uni to do a Mech Engineering degree as I feel this at least will give me something to offer. Problem is these days it feels like everyone has a degree, so is it really worth it?

I know there are a lot of switched on folks on this board so do you reckon its worth bothering anymore or will anyone without a good degree or established career be washed up in a few years time? Does anyone know what the future of the engineering sector is like, especially graduate type jobs? Will there continue to be plenty of engineering opportunites abroad or are they all going to be taken up by the next batch of chinese/indian graduates that these deveopling nations seem to be knocking out. What would you do in my situation (other than drop off the nearest bridge to avoid the inevitable mess much of the youth of this country are heading into!).

Do something that you're good at, or that you like, or both.

If you don't have any idea what you like or what you're good at then follow the money, and when you've figured out what you like, you'll then have the money to do it.

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So what kind of job will bring you satisfaction? The people who usually achieve what you want tend to have a burning desire to be in the line of business they want from a relatively you age. If you don't have that I suspect uni may be a waste of money and your time.

This is the problem, I have no idea. I've never had a desire to do any career, even when I was young. I just want a haIf decent job which I don't dread turning up to every day. If I got into something I would stick it out and be happy no doubt (i've been doing my current job for 5 years which im reasonably hapy with, it just doesn't lead to much and pay is rubbish) but the thought of doing three years at uni just puts me off a bit.

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I've been looking at a career change recently. I've been doing pretty meaningless admin jobs for the last few years now so you could argue I havent really started one yet. Problem seems to be that employers all seem to want either degrees of some kind or substantial experience in that area just to apply neither of which I have at 25 (my own fault). I've been contemplating going to uni to do a Mech Engineering degree as I feel this at least will give me something to offer. Problem is these days it feels like everyone has a degree, so is it really worth it?

I know there are a lot of switched on folks on this board so do you reckon its worth bothering anymore or will anyone without a good degree or established career be washed up in a few years time? Does anyone know what the future of the engineering sector is like, especially graduate type jobs? Will there continue to be plenty of engineering opportunites abroad or are they all going to be taken up by the next batch of chinese/indian graduates that these deveopling nations seem to be knocking out. What would you do in my situation (other than drop off the nearest bridge to avoid the inevitable mess much of the youth of this country are heading into!).

What's your background? What do you have aptitude for? What do you enjoy?

On a wider point, people in this country (of all countries) have been conditioned to think they must strive to achieve academic excellence in order to breeze their way through university into a life long high status professional roles (the obsession with University stems from Britain's imperial past when our universities started churning out colonial administrators). This has become a dangerous psychosis, leaving the UK vulnerable to the more adaptable, more risk-accepting East.

What were people doing before the whole A-level/Degree/profession track became the only acceptable aspiration in life?

They were living off their wits as entrepreneurs starting businesses from humble beginning and slowly building them up.

Many of Britain's most sucessful people have no university education, they were strong independent souls with vision. Philip Green, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar.

What strikes me is that the UK has more than its fair share of problems, so if you can offer solutions through a business you could make a living that way.

What you have to ask yourself is how far you are prepared to put yourself out? How prepared are you to forego the fool's gold of A-stars and firsts?

What matters to you more? Money you grafted for that leaves you empowered? Or qualifications you studied for that leave you indebted?

Perhaps rather than mull over a degree, do what Brits did with great success in the early days of the British empire: Go and see the opportunities abroad and bring them back with you. Only when you travel will you come back to realise how psychotic the West has become, comatose with its own pompous smug, self-important middle-classness - while the East powers ahead.

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My 2 cents. The decision is yours alone to make. I would be looking at job descriptions for your dream job to see what is required. Consider the opportunity cost of being at university for 3 years alone with the cost of the degree etc. I would be getting into something quick though you want something under your belt before you hit 30.

Health, engineering, science are supposedly growth areas for the future, Your shout though fella.

I personally don't think this is universally true. Perhaps for certain careers (I hear most bankers reach burn out by that age for instance), but some jobs require life skills, not just academic. I think age discrimination will certainly reduce in the future...It wont be eradicated but I think it'll become less of a problem in the next twenty years... I've read about quite a few ppl starting new careers in their 30's & 40's or even 50's....Even on R2 this afternoon, they said that an average career lasts around 13 years..That can easily translate into 3 careers in your life time..

Age is all in the mind for a lot of ppl..If you feel old before your time, I think you age more quickly..

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My advice with any career at the moment would be to try and ensure you're doing something that it would be possible to continue selling the service to end users on a self-employed basis.

Plodding through the hoops of university and the 'career ladder' to refine yourself to become the perfect and most efficient cog in the corporate machine used to ensure a life of safe and comfortable, if unexciting, employment. These cogs are becoming obsolete and there is a bit of an opportunity, in that, not everybody has spotted this yet - see the annual A-level results and university place hysteria.

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I would definitely consider an OU degree in this case. Do some pyschometric tests first, see if you have the aptitude for science and maths. If you do, game on, you should have a good choice of careers ahead of you.

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If you think you'll enjoy that degree, why not give it a go?

Uni seems like as good a place as any other to hunker down 'til all this mess, hopefully, blows over.

Because it could prove a big waste of money, no chance of a better job and a big debt afterwards. That's why.

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If you do that degree, look how it fits in with joining the IMechE and similar. Prospects are pretty good especially if you did get chartered. Lots of regulatory things the appropriate signature, you move into license to print money territory sooner or later. You can work abroad quite easily. Ignore the muppets here, most of them are computer programmers which tells you how much forward career planning they are capable of. Mech Eng is all maths btw, and pretty numerical at that. Have you ever really enjoyed trig and calc? Worth keeping in mind.

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Mech Eng is all maths btw, and pretty numerical at that. Have you ever really enjoyed trig and calc? Worth keeping in mind.

This is very true, I studied engineering at uni and it was maths eight hours a day 5 days a week!

Couldn't wait to get out and get some spanner time to be honest.

Spiney,

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I would definitely consider an OU degree in this case. Do some pyschometric tests first, see if you have the aptitude for science and maths. If you do, game on, you should have a good choice of careers ahead of you.

I'm seriously considering doing the OU...Don't forget though, you're talking at least 6 years to do a degree. That might be hard if you've got a family, or whatever..

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Have you thought about IT? For those of an engineering bent it can offer the opportunity to build, fix and tinker and its not impossible to slip onto helpdesk from an admin role. Easy to self teach these days too just through videos and tutorials on the web.

No good if your heart is set on being up to you elbows in grease and widgets though.

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What's your background? What do you have aptitude for? What do you enjoy?

On a wider point, people in this country (of all countries) have been conditioned to think they must strive to achieve academic excellence in order to breeze their way through university into a life long high status professional roles (the obsession with University stems from Britain's imperial past when our universities started churning out colonial administrators). This has become a dangerous psychosis, leaving the UK vulnerable to the more adaptable, more risk-accepting East.

What were people doing before the whole A-level/Degree/profession track became the only acceptable aspiration in life?

They were living off their wits as entrepreneurs starting businesses from humble beginning and slowly building them up.

Many of Britain's most sucessful people have no university education, they were strong independent souls with vision. Philip Green, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar.

What strikes me is that the UK has more than its fair share of problems, so if you can offer solutions through a business you could make a living that way.

What you have to ask yourself is how far you are prepared to put yourself out? How prepared are you to forego the fool's gold of A-stars and firsts?

What matters to you more? Money you grafted for that leaves you empowered? Or qualifications you studied for that leave you indebted?

Perhaps rather than mull over a degree, do what Brits did with great success in the early days of the British empire: Go and see the opportunities abroad and bring them back with you. Only when you travel will you come back to realise how psychotic the West has become, comatose with its own pompous smug, self-important middle-classness - while the East powers ahead.

Again, as I was saying. . . . . Telegraph: A-level-results How the great university boom has defrauded our students

Nought out of ten for plagiarism, Jeff.

Tsk, tsk.

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Have you thought about IT? For those of an engineering bent it can offer the opportunity to build, fix and tinker and its not impossible to slip onto helpdesk from an admin role. Easy to self teach these days too just through videos and tutorials on the web.

No good if your heart is set on being up to you elbows in grease and widgets though.

You could have a butchers at doing the A+...takes about a couple of hundred hours, and if you like it / have the aptitude for it, then you could go on to further study, otherwise if you don't like it, you haven't wasted 3 years of your life..

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I did electronics and electrical - still plenty of jobs for good engineering graduates and the job is actually quite fun - gets you thinking, you really start to understand how things work. It's like playing guitar, you build up a skill and you can start designing things, pretty enjoyable. There's a lot of maths, though, yes.... totally up to you. Must admit I'd hate to do another degree again so think hard on that one - and the course wont be easy if you decide to go for it. Engineering pays ok, not amazing, but that's offset against job satisfaction (sometimes!)

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Amateur psychologist hat on.

Having read Coburn's book I think you're asking the wrong questions and therefore you're bound to get the wrong answers!

People here are asking so what are you good at? Which is a recipie for disaster as people get pushed into professions they don't like, do it for years and feel demotivated and unhappy about it, a lot of my peers feel the same way. What you are good at? Should be subsituted by what you want to do!

I would ask myself what is important to me.

What do I need to do to get there.

What is it I WANT to do.

I would add something to this as well, I would add : What NEEDS to be done face to face?

I.e. A bloke in China cannot service your car therefore this job is relatively safe from outsourcing, but can be vulnerable to insourcing which is a threat but a considerably smaller threat. Many of my mechanic friends are doing OK, though wages have fallen over the past decade (especially for bike mechanics).

While say payroll or accounts, 95% of the work you never need to see the client, At Hal one of the clients had never been seen face to face for the past 25 years until anti money laundering laws came into effect. Therefore there is no need for it to be done from a desk in the UK.

Consider very carefully.... as you could well go to university and find yourself obsolete before you even hold the certificate in your hand. My backup skills are only really vulnerable to insourcing.

Working as a chef, this is only vulnerable to insourcing visa restrictions mean insourcing is less of a threat!

The donkey work I do in the mornings for takeaway places, is so small and insignificant it's not worth insourcing somebody.

Same with the mechanic/handyman type work. I'm blessed with the ability to fix anything (this does not mean it won't break later on though). I've fixed air conditioners, extractor fans, gas cookers cars etc. This has kept me ticking over for months and it's not worth insourcing somebody in.

A final thought is, be flexible and keep on learning. 2000 years ago in China somebody said be flexible like water and change when the circumstances dictate it (Bruce Lee copied this in his dissertation!) If you are rigid and there is a need for a sudden change then you may not fit into the current climate and find yourself unemployable.

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a level of financial security, job satisfaction but don't want to spend life stressing about work.

I don't know how old you are or where you live. See what part time degree's are available at your local Uni. Many, many years ago I embarked on a part time LLB law degree at De Montfort University. I was doing quite well, until work committments got in the way and couldn't complete the second year. Now I'd have to start again from scratch. Quite a lot of degree programmes can be completed part time. A P/T degree would be an ideal situation for me now, as I am now "self employed" despite the fact I'm knocking on a bit.

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Engineering is like advanced maths. You don't see that from the outside.

Doesn't even sound like you really know what you want to do. I would not pursue an engineering degree if you are lacking in desire to do it, it will be a major undertaking and if you don't have a serious passion for it then you quickly lose interest and will not do well. Same applies for a degree like medicine.

Sounds to me like you just want job security and some regular income. You don't see a job as the be-all and end-all. I understand your situation. What you want is just what most people want, unless they have specific life goals or desires.

Unfortunately, the way the world is today, a no fuss and secure job is impossible. Every company seems to be the same. You go in and your boss is a d1ck. But his boss is an even bigger d1ck to him. Everyone is miserable and backstabs each other. They are all McJobs now, except you get a desk, a computer and a phone.

I'm self-employed now and I advise others to do the same. This doesn't have to mean "entrepreneur". It can also mean a trade like plumbing, accountant, solicitor, dentist, pharmacist etc.

Most people think I'm "taking a risk". I say 2 things to counter:

- a full and rich life is about taking risks. Avoiding or overestimating risks is a symptom of modern life and its malaises (look how many people have anxiety related disorders).

- I think that being a slave for 50 years and postponing your life until retirement is a much greater "risk"

edit: actually, if I could do it all again (my student loan was only 8k total and no fees to pay) then I'd probably do a modern languages degree at uni. I really think that the most empowering thing that you can do (and also enhances job prospects) is to do a language. In your situation though I'd learn on my own rather than shell out for it on a degree.

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edit: actually, if I could do it all again (my student loan was only 8k total and no fees to pay) then I'd probably do a modern languages degree at uni. I really think that the most empowering thing that you can do (and also enhances job prospects) is to do a language. In your situation though I'd learn on my own rather than shell out for it on a degree.

Don't think I would.

Yes, I like being able to speak languages. I've learned the four I speak (including of course English) through living in different countries and speaking the languages. French, which I notionally 'studied' at school, is not one of the four: when I attempt it I feel like the tourist in a comedy sketch.

That's a skill, but it's not education. To benefit from a university education, you need to take in the culture and literature, as well as (of course) mastering fluent everyday communication. And what better modern language to immerse yourself in than that of Shakespeare? An education in English literature gives you all the training you need to convert the straightforward learning another language into the rewarding educating yourself in another culture.

Bottom line there: if you're interested in languages, do a classics degree, and pick up modern languages as and when you have occasion to. Classics is the best foundation for European languages (and to a lesser extent those of our historic neighbours, such as arabic, though I'm on much shakier ground talking about that 'cos I don't speak it myself). If all you want to do is speak a language then forget university!

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Don't think I would.

Yes, I like being able to speak languages. I've learned the four I speak (including of course English) through living in different countries and speaking the languages. French, which I notionally 'studied' at school, is not one of the four: when I attempt it I feel like the tourist in a comedy sketch.

That's a skill, but it's not education. To benefit from a university education, you need to take in the culture and literature, as well as (of course) mastering fluent everyday communication. And what better modern language to immerse yourself in than that of Shakespeare? An education in English literature gives you all the training you need to convert the straightforward learning another language into the rewarding educating yourself in another culture.

Bottom line there: if you're interested in languages, do a classics degree, and pick up modern languages as and when you have occasion to. Classics is the best foundation for European languages (and to a lesser extent those of our historic neighbours, such as arabic, though I'm on much shakier ground talking about that 'cos I don't speak it myself). If all you want to do is speak a language then forget university!

A Classics degree? Surely one of the biggest wastes of time and money, no?

You can study Classics in your own free time. What good does it do to spend money on a certificate?

I only recommend a languages degree if you're not paying for your degree and want something that will benefit you for years to come AND allow you to pursue your own projects and pursuits at the same time.

Plus you are not pidgeon-holed if you do a languages degree. Good employers (if you still want to slave for a big company) respect them too.

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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