Tag Archives: students

Students smashing shop windows in London

Students are tearing up London today. There are riots as a reaction to the government plans to triple the maximum annual tuition fee, from £3,000 to £9,000.

I can understand the depth of feeling. I think that as we face increased global competition, a country like the UK has to educate our young people if they are to compete. We can’t compete internationally with an uneducated workforce – low-cost skills can easily be sourced elsewhere for much less than they cost locally in the UK.

And I was recently working in Malta, the smallest EU nation, where they still pay students to study. Course fees are all covered by the government and the students receive a stipend… cash straight into their pocket. It used to be like that when I was a student in the 1980s, though I was studying right towards the end of the glory days when it was free to study and you got a grant just for being a student.

Tripling the cost of education when we need more educated young people is outrageous, but I don’t think any students have helped their cause today by smashing up London. Most people in the UK are more concerned about the 500,000 public-sector jobs that are about to vanish – and probably a similar number in the private sector that were supporting those public-sector people. That’s a million people on the dole soon.

Do the students really think that their desire to study for free is considered more urgent or important than millions of workers being cast out to the wilderness of unemployment?

The NUS can’t demand that Lib Dem politicians keep their pledges. Our electoral system created a coalition. That meant the two parties agreed to compromise and one of the pledges made by the Lib Dems was lost in the agreement. End of story. Do they really think that smashing up the city is going to get Nick Clegg to change his mind on this? And much as I sympathise with them, I’m afraid most people won’t be sympathetic… students tearing up the city and breaking windows while others lose their jobs.

Where do you think public sympathy is going to go?

Lse library

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What is our FutureStory?

The job for life no longer exists. That’s a fact many of us have become acutely aware of as more and more industries go global. People are migrating, in search of jobs. Jobs themselves are migrating through outsourcing – being sent offshore to other countries using technology such as the Internet.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in all this, as the world moves faster and children don’t know what to study because it’s impossible to predict what type of jobs will need what type of qualifications in future. The life of a graduate is anyway very different now. In days gone by all that effort to achieve a degree would have been rewarded with a fairly safe career in a specific industry, possibly even in the same company.

That’s all gone. Your degree will be out of date within a few years, certainly within a decade. Look at India and China. They create over 5m brand new graduates every year. How does the UK compete with that?

FutureStory is an initiative aimed at exploring these questions and connecting local people in their own region to globalisation and what it means to them. The debate around globalisation is often presented in a polarised way – economists supporting the opportunities and campaigners resisting change. FutureStory aims to explore how globalisation really affects people in their own region and how young people can prepare for a global world of work. Rather than stating whether it is right or wrong, the pragmatic view is that globalisation just is. It’s like the sun rising each morning. It just happens.

So, the FutureStory programme aims to help local businesses connect with young people and their teachers to explore where the future jobs are going to come from. It not only allows students the opportunity to explore globalisation with practitioners, but also allows those companies to wake up and explore how globalisation affects the community where they do business.

The question we all need to be asking is, what can I do to succeed in a future knowledge economy? Take a look at the newly-launched FutureStory website here for more information.
Lucy Parker with Tim Smith, Jonny McGuigan, and Mark Churchill from Prudhoe Community High School

LSBU all weekend

I spent most of Sunday at the Latimer house conference centre in Buckinghamshire at a residential offsite for the London South Bank University MBA.

I was talking about outsourcing. I had an hour to speak and I did not have much guidance from the university this time. Usually I spend a lot of time planning the sessions, and last year I spent all weekend at Latimer. This year, there were a whole range of reasons, but it boiled down to the fact that I could not get together with the LSBU staff.

So, I had an hour to talk on outsourcing. I tried to just make it an interactive conversation with the students and to focus on the pros and cons – so it might be something useful for their research, as they still need to decide what area to write about for their dissertation.

It was nice to find that after I had spoken, many of the staff and students said it was not long enough and we should have scheduled the talk much earlier in the weekend – rather than Sunday morning when everyone was hungover. That’s a nice reaction because it’s not a subject many people would enjoy on a Sunday morning.

I had been planning to try doing some very interactive work using Twitter, but that might have to wait for next year… and given that I’m about to start a new blog focused on social media I might speak on several subjects!

I noticed some of the students had uploaded photos from the weekend to Facebook, marked with the title Much Better with Alcohol – as their MBA weekend…