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University for some
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mr alex says...
Learn Whilst You Earn

Leadership Today

University for Some

If you think getting that University degree is the only road to success - think again! Between 30% and 40% (depending on which country you are in) of university students never complete their degrees. The growth in the student population over the past 30 years has positioned University education as a symbol of future success. Governments have supported students with easy loans, and many Universities have financially benefited from the rush to go to University. However, this has not worked out well for many people searching for a route to career success. Many have started to rethink which path to take.

 

Borrowing $100,000 to attend University may be an advantage for some. This is not the case for many young people, who are beginning to realise that gaining hands-on experience and getting paid whilst learning may be a cheaper and more effective path for them to follow. Many students do not start their careers until their late 20s, realising that four to seven years studying for a qualification may be unsuitable for the job they choose later.   Some 20% of student loans never get repaid, and many students struggle to repay a $100,000 loan that could have been invested in themselves -  to start their own business! Universities are awash with money; now we know why.

The private sector is increasingly investing in the training and education of people for their industry. Employers are often happy to combine external and internal training and education, bringing reality and much-needed competition into the academic world. Significant changes are happening, with new products and services increasingly driven by technology, forcing employers to be practical and theoretical in their drive to manage change. Preparing young people for fast-moving change demands a different approach to what the current formal education systems offer. Work experience during such change will be helpful for young people when AI and robotics become widespread. Companies will no longer be prepared to wait for traditional education Universities to produce people with qualifications that are irrelevant to their needs. The cost of education has now reached a point where the return on investment is becoming harder to justify, except for specialised degrees, for example, in law, medicine and mathematics. New technology waits for nobody; selecting the best people and training them faster than before has become more critical than choosing the right academic course.

 

Today's customer demands products and services 'now' that will be increasingly made and rolled out locally, quicker, and personalised to suit their individual needs; the days of the global manufacturer, able to consolidate volumes, are numbered. New technology is driving demand for local and regional manufacturing closer to where products are needed. On-the-job learning has become a vital part of a more business-orientated culture amongst young people to accelerate and prepare them for a different life at work. 

Increasingly, Business Leadership is looking to recruit people to suit the new work environment rather than wait five or more, which are increasingly wasted by students studying subjects that will not prepare them properly.  

Young people in their 30s too often present themselves to their future employers knowing little or nothing about the business world. They have not gained sufficient knowledge at University, waiting tables or tapping their smartphones. Universities and Schools are, for the most part, under-utilised; they remain empty and under-utilised more than full. Unlike the private sector, universities do not regard fixed assets as something they want to get more from. As private enterprise increasingly moves into the education space, the hold that Universities and Schools have over their students will slacken, driven by the new demands of the workspace. Like all businesses seeking success, they must reassess their contribution to society. Their assets will become more relevant and better utilised. We will see fewer bricks and mortar Universities, and those that remain will be better utilised and productive.

 

Leaders in private enterprises understand that learning is a continuous process and must be targeted rather than prescribed. The ability to succeed is not based solely on the years you give to studying; it is also about aptitude and learning for life's entire journey rather than just the bit that entails education.  

In future, attending a University will become a minority activity, replaced by private enterprise-driven learning. Established Universities will always be able to offer dedicated studies to those who need to pursue occupations that require them to achieve specialised qualifications based on an academic curriculum. Meanwhile, private enterprises will get on with helping people grow their futures, preparing them for the increasingly fast-changing world of work.

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