Friday, September 28, 2007

The Rewards are Worth the Cost

This article explores the point I started below about the cost of university education.
Despite the costs, the financial returns of gaining a degree continue to rise too, so that the average graduate can now expect to earn £160,000 more over their working life than non-graduates with two A levels.
But of course this depends on the degree that you take. Lauren has taken History. The reaction when I tell folk this usually is a variation on the theme of "Oooo, history doesn't qualify you for anything".

But I think that 17 (which is when you have to make choices that affect your whole life) is very young to decide what you're going to do (probably) for the rest of your life. As Lauren didn't know, it made sense for her to choose a subject that she enjoys and is good at.

It's not all about money.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

This is news gold...

Especially as I consider doing a dissertation thinking about aspirations and educational attainment. (BBC news story here entitled The Global Demand for Graduates)
The gist of it is that the UK is falling behind the rest of Europe in the number of graduates that it produces. We as a country don't quite seem to believe that having a degree is a worthwhile thing, believing that job opportunities arise without one.

Part of the problem is that a very large swathe of opinion in Britain simply does not believe that we need more graduates.

This includes saloon bar sages, large sections of the media, and - until recently - it also included the Conservative party, which for years ridiculed the government's target of getting 50% of young people through higher education.

This might explain why we so often hear young people casting doubt on the value of going to university. The message they are getting from some quarters is that they would do better to go straight into a job.

When I think about the cost of Lauren going off to uni, I could quite easily be swayed too. Tuition fees are £3k per year, accommodation costs £4k per year plus living expenses on top of that. This means that in three years time, Lauren will have a BA but be at least£21k in debt. A great way to start off your working life! It would be interesting to know that what opportunities would arise for her in the work place if she had gone directly into employment. Also what she could have done with that £7k per year had she chosen to invest it in some way or put it into opening a business. I guess we'll never know...

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Friday, September 14, 2007


The month of Ramadan started yesterday which is the period of fasting for Muslims. During the daylight hours they deny themselves food and drink, including water. They are allowed a small meal before daybreak and after sunset but over indulgence in order to compensate for the lack of sustenance during the day isn't considered entering the spirit of Ramadan.

Ramadan is on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which is based on the phases of the moon, so some times the days will be shorter and I guess fasting slightly easier. With longer daylight as we have currently, I would have thought that fasting will be even more difficult so spare a thought for your Islamic colleagues.

More details here and here

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Low down on the (not so) new job

Well a few people have asked for some information on the new job and I haven't really known what to write. But here it is (long overdue!)

I finished working for Norfolk County Council- Children's Services, Central Area Youth Work team at the end of May. I was able to "shadow" the School's Manager for YMCA for a month before she went on maternity leave. Then it was just me in the job! Although I do only work three days a week (Hannah worked full time). Rachel has also gained some managerial responsibility so in theory, it should work out.

I have encountered some real challenges (recruiting three new members of staff), periodic moments of stress when funding reports are due and generally getting the hang of a new job.

But I've enjoyed the challenges and things seem to have worked out OK so far! My job entails managing people, dealing with their contracts and representing the YMCA at meetings. Today I ran some training, spoke to a head teacher, signed some forms and confirmed a team building event for next week (yay for Craig!)

The only way I can describe the job is that it's stretching- enough to be a challenge but not enough to be a burden.

If I've left any detail out, ask me a question!

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Sunday, September 02, 2007


Trouble with Facebook is if you become too popular, you just can't add any more friends. Mike Pilavachi has reached 5000 friends and can have no more. I on the other hand have 142 friends and have ample room for more.


Saturday, September 01, 2007


I have been watching and enjoying the programme Heroes. It made me wonder what Superpower I would like to have? Here are some that I thought of:
1) The power to be positive in all situations
2) The power to have insight into people's lives
3) The power to say the right thing at the right time
4) The power to have good fortune in every situation (compare with the potion Felix Felicisis in Harry Potter)
These are in addition to the traditional ones of Super Strength, Speed, Invisibility, Reading Minds and Self Healing.

What would be your Superpower?