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University for some
Leopard's Head

mr alex says...
Learn Whilst You Earn

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 rethinking their path to career success. Borrowing $100,000 to attend University may be an advantage for some. Still, this is not the case for many young people. They are beginning to realise that gaining hands-on experience and getting paid whilst learning - is a better path for them to follow. Many students start their careers in their mid to late 20s, realising that spending four to seven years studying for a qualification may not be suitable for the job they choose later on.   Some 20% of loans never get repaid, and a growing proportion of students end up struggling to repay a $100,000 loan that, for example, could have been used to start their own business instead!

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 education, bringing reality 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. 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 and medicine. 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.


People want their products and services 'on demand' and produced locally, quicker, and personalised to suit them, not the global manufacturer. New technology is driving the need for centralised manufacturing closer to demand. On-the-job learning has become a vital part of a more business-orientated culture amongst young people to prepare them for their lifetime of work. 

The other main issue is that having spent most of their lives in education; young people present themselves to their future employers knowing little or nothing about the business world. They do not gain sufficient knowledge waiting tables or tapping their smartphones.  


Universities and Schools are, for the most part, under-utilised; they remain empty 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, we will see Universities and Schools become an asset to be better utilised rather than an underutilised asset. 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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