Lewes Forum thread

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On 16 Jan 2013 at 9:09am Pippa wrote:
As a young person in Lewes I personally welcome any intern scheme.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 9:38am Deelite wrote:
and there you have it....

It's very hard for a young person to get a foot on the employment ladder nowadays. It's not like it was when I was a kid. Starter jobs just don't seem to be in the same sort of abundance.

There is a cost for an employer to take on a new and inexperienced person. Add paying minimum wage to this and opportunities for work experience will be reduced even further. Most youngster of employment age live with their parents nowadays so living expenses are very low. It does not cost their parents much to support them so it seems to me that internships benefit all three parties (i.e. kids are likely to be able to leave home sooner as they'll become employable due to having relevant work experience).

It's called pragmatism, adjustment to the times we find ourselves in.

How's the driving going Pippa?
On 16 Jan 2013 at 9:50am Crispin wrote:
Daddy's got a porsche.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 10:02am freddie wrote:
then Viva Lewes could be just the place!!!!
On 16 Jan 2013 at 10:06am Southover Queen wrote:
Pippa, believe me I sympathise. I've spent a lot of time involved with the issue of unpaid and unstructured internships in the field of film and television over the last six or seven years. One of the problems is that those new to the job market actively resent what they see as an attempt to prevent them "gaining the work experience they need to get a job" not least because that's what their elders (and betters?) tell them they need to do. The truth is that if you come back to those unpaid interns five years on they pretty well universally regret having been duped into working for free.

Deelite correctly identifies a lack of entry level jobs, and there's a reason for that - at least there is in those sectors which are very over-subscribed, such as the media, which are the sectors I know well. The reason is, I'm afraid, that if an employer can get someone to work for nothing why would he pay him or her? Even ethical employers who actively want to abide by the law and train new entrants find it difficult, because they're undercut by so many who don't. That's a major reason that so many entry level jobs have simply vanished from the job scene. The NMW for anyone under 21 is less than a fiver an hour, and for an apprentice it's £2.60. I'm sorry, but I don't believe that's quite the issue it's cracked up to be. In any case, it's simply against the law - a law which interestingly this government hasn't tried to change.

It's also important to differentiate between idle kids who don't want to work and can't be bothered to stir themselves and those who desperately want a job in a chosen field and will do anything to secure one. In most cases, the youngsters I'm talking about are the second kind - they're eminently employable and in most cases have plenty of paid work experience in other less sought-after fields. They're eager to learn and often possess the relevant skills. All they need is a job where they're respected and supported.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 11:05am Clifford wrote:
Pippa wrote: 'As a young person in Lewes I personally welcome any intern scheme.'

And your parents welcome supporting you a little longer, into adulthood. The thing is, other parents can't afford to subsidise employers in this way.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 11:23am Ed Can Do wrote:
The other issue of course and one that SQ touched on is the huge over-subscription for any jobs that are out there. When I was at school there weren't any subjects that ended in "studies", they generally ended in "ology". I can't remember the last time I got a CV from someone under the age of 25 that didn't list media or film studies under the list of AS levels taken and add sociology into the mix and there are relatively few kids these days who have studied a full complement of employable subjects.

The media is like any labour market, when supply is so high, firms can get away with paying peanuts. If every kid coming out of college had studied accountancy then you'd see unpaid interns in that field. If they all studied engineering then we'd be talking about a construction company fishing for free labour, not a magazine.

If parents are concerned about funding their kids through an unpaid internship, they should put some effort into encouraging them to persue a more realistic career.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 2:46pm William wrote:
Perfectly put, Ed.
I despair at the quality of job applicants that I receive communication from. Just because a teenager likes taking photographs or watching videos on You Tube, it doesn't mean that they should be encouraged to think that it will serve as a career for them come what may.
I liken it to the idea of being a footballer thirty years ago; any decent careers advisor would say by all means give it a go, but not at the expense of another more reliable career option.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 3:43pm Southover Queen wrote:
That takes us into a different area, which is the quality of careers advice and guidance for youngsters wanting to make a career in the media. One of the perennial gripes of employers in television is that there are thousands of "media graduates" every year, most of whom have studied pretty well worthless courses in poorly regarded colleges. They emerge with little grasp of the realities of the industry and most will never be employed in it. There are perhaps four or five institutions who offer degree courses which are relevant and employ current professionals to teach on them; the rest are really generally a waste of time and money. The reason theses courses exist at all is that they're brilliant for the universities and colleges because they get students flocking to them and paying their exorbitant fees. It's the good old market at work again, folks.

Ask any employer about the quality of the applicants they get, and they'll tell you that while they're often very keen they're not a good fit. What employers often want is graduates of other disciplines who want to learn from the bottom up - they have the analytical thinking skills which many media grads lack.

I really wish that there were better advice at school about what subjects to do if you're interested in taking a particular career path. At the moment there are a lot of youngsters working hard for degrees which employers just don't want.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 4:08pm William wrote:
Having worked as a visiting lecturer back as far as the 80's, I would disagree with that comment about the market being to blame. The huge expansion of higher education was a Labour attempt to 'make things more equal' via increasing the number of kids doing degrees. The result is that the supply of graduates continues to far outstrips demand, as the monstrous education industry that was created (with all of its vested interests) has become yet another sacred cow that it's politically-difficult to cull to a more appropriate size. The recent increase in tuition fees was simply a first step towards making the whole sector a bit more self-supporting, and look at the furore that stirred up!
But also don't forget that even Tesco moan about the hopeless state of your average school-leaver's skills - that can be at least partly traced back to comprehensive education resulting in what I always call the 'lowest common denominator' effect. I firmly believe that you can also blame overly positive encouragement, to the point where precious few youngsters can accept even remotely critical appraisal nowadays. Just look at your average school report from now and back then!
On 16 Jan 2013 at 5:07pm Clifford wrote:
There seems to be a strange idea on here that poor emyers are being forced to ask youngsters to work for nothing because there are so many graduates around. No, it's part of a process that's been growing over the past 30 years - avoid paying the taxes that keeps the country's infrastructure and avoid paying a living wage. It's called shareholder greed.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 5:33pm Southover Queen wrote:
William, I'm restricting my comments to people wanting to make careers in the media because I don't know enough about other sectors. My remark about the market being to blame for the proliferation of media courses is, I truly believe, accurate: there are no criteria (as far as I know) which insist that a university or college must show that there is a ready job market for their graduates before they're given the go-ahead. The result is that the higher education and further education sectors churn out thousands of would-be producers and directors while the ratio of available jobs is probably 100:1.

I'd say that the reasoning underlying the massive expansion of higher education was more to do with a sense that the UK can only succeed with a highly skilled workforce. The mistake - in my humble opinion, obviously - was not to exert more control over the courses available and to tailor them according to what the job market actually needs. There is no match at all, or not in the sectors I know well at any rate. And that IS the market at work - the proliferation of media studies course at the expense of chemistry or physics, for instance, cannot be a good thing for the economy as a whole, but they've gone because they're not popular and the universities need bums on seats.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 5:57pm Deelite wrote:
Gawd Clifford. Not all companies are run by shareholders... and it is possible to take an intern on for altruistic reasons. It's just not as simple or black and white as your dogmatic philosophy seems to dictate.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 7:08pm William wrote:
Hmm, I knew no-one that was hands-on in the higher education sector in the late 90's that honestly, deep-down, genuinely believed that more places was anything other than a ideological ploy to "widen access". There were plenty of un/underemployed graduates in serious subjects back then, so I cannot agree that wanting to improve the skills-base of the wider workforce was even the secondary motive.
The influx of funding was seen as perfect conditions for empire and career-building within education, with one Dean I knew quite well expressing his absolute delight that "they'll never be able to cut education back after this, they won't have the nerve".
You are correct that course validity was left unchecked, but that was down to poor regulation rather than to the evils of the free-market system. I absolutely believe that many of the ills of the western world come from poor regulation of the market rather than the market itself, a role which is what the government sector should focus on rather than trying to do the 'doing' (if that's clear!).
This is just another example of that - courses should have been restricted, which would also have needed to involve parents and teachers not indulging kids preferences to such a bogus and unrealistic (and arguably cruel, in the long-term) extent. Universities wouldn't need to put bums on these dunce's seats if the whole sector were to be cut back to what's actually appropriate for the country.
But regrettably we seem to agree that the education system output is hopeless. I feel quite sorry for some youngsters today, who have been conned. I extend that to some graduates, but not all, as the majority are bright enough to have spotted the lies if they were being honest with themselves. But what were the parents thinking of?
I'm reminded of what a creative-subject school teacher of my acquaintance told me a decade or so back; her school had become a predominantly Asian-pupil one over a period of about twenty years, due to the location in which it was sited. Whereas the 'art department' had previously had over a dozen or so pupils studying art subjects through to 'A' level, that had dwindled to about two as Asian parents insisted that their children followed 'the professions'. I think that's an indicator of where the balance of global power and wealth will be shifting towards!
On 16 Jan 2013 at 7:38pm Hermione wrote:
I really don't see what business it is of yours to complain about media graduates or internships. I did an internship myself, I worked at my uncles Law firm, and through the hard work I did, I made contact with a client who must have recognised I had the right attitude, and gave me another step up the career ladder. Now, at just 24, I have my own boutique and am employing a school leaver part time.
I have, through hard work, made this work. I also worked very hard at school, the other girls used to tease me for wanting to make a career off the back of my own hard work, which is why I did media studies at Coventry.
I think that far from being banned, internships should be forced on lazy unemployed types. How else do they expect to make contacts with people who will further your career, through their own hard work? I know it means a bit of financial hardship for a few months, but we just have to swallow our pride and ask our parents for help. I honestly don't understand whats so wrong with that. I expect they just haven't got the entrepreneurial streak that I have.
On 16 Jan 2013 at 8:16pm Zebedee wrote:
This has to be a troll, right?
On 16 Jan 2013 at 8:46pm Local wrote:
Looks like it. 'Media Studies' and 'hard work' appearing in the same paragraph doesn't ring true.
On 17 Jan 2013 at 12:16am Lewes lady wrote:
In light of all the hoo-hah about Viva Lewes recently, I've taken a look through a copy this evening. In some ways, the input from a poorly-educated teenager might liven up some of the stuff in it.
But I do think that the photo competition page is poor form - send your pics in to try and win £20 or whatever it is, but also sign away your permission for them to use any of them, at any time in the future, for no £s at all.
If they're not paying a salary to have their tea made for them, they can surely afford to pay the odd £20 to someone (who may well be the same photography graduate who's making those teas!)
On 17 Jan 2013 at 10:07am Southover Queen wrote:
Well Hermione, you've more or less made most of my points for me. You appear to be another media studies graduate whose degree is completely inappropriate for the career choices you've made.

I'm not going to respond to the rest of the tirade against "lazy unemployed types" because if you'd taken the trouble to read any of the threads on this subject you'd know that this isn't what any of the discussions have been about; quite the opposite in fact. I do hope that some of the sharper corners of your smugness will be rounded off in the fullness of time.

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