First, congratulations to all who have successfully won a place at university. Without a doubt, a UK university degree continues to hold its value worldwide.
The headlines for this year’s A-level results include the fact that there is no longer a cap on the number of places universities offer. And, of 10 am this morning Ucas reported that universities had confirmed more places than last year, an increase of 3%. I imagine this figure will be greater this time next week as students rightly work their way through clearing.
Success today is the result of years of effort and forward thinking. Repeating the same over the next three or four years will help you find the right graduate role when you leave. Let us partner our natural joy for you as you embark on this exciting journey – and yes it is an exciting journey, with some boring but vital planning.
In three or four years when this years’ crop of university goers graduate there will be even more graduates entering the world of work. Yes, competition will be even greater than at present. Do we believe that the corporate world will be better able to absorb this ever increasing number?
On the downside, UK business confidence looks decidedly unpleasant, declining at a rate of more than 3 points per quarter between 2015 and 2016. Whilst the Public Sector is a major employer, sitting at over 19% of the employed population (ONS, 2012), such a negative trend in business confidence is disconcerting. After all, low confidence across the private sector would impact negatively on plans to recruit graduates. Similarly, projected UK job vacancies over this same period is, at best, static. This begs the obvious question, will there be sufficient graduate jobs come 2018/19?
On the other hand, data indicates that the unemployment rate has plateaued at around 5.6% and, full-time employment is expected to reach just over 23 Million by 2020; a 1.2% rise from Q3/2015 (Trading Economics). Whilst not devastatingly positive, welcome news nevertheless.
I fully accept that I have not, and cannot sensibly present the complete picture. However, the reality is that today’s’ new university recruits should ensure that the euphoria of today does not become bitter – sweet on graduation.
What about some suggestions? In support of the immortal words of Baz Luhrmann (1999) (www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI) I can only suggest that students do not remain anonymous. Remember wallflowers tend to get passed over when great opportunities present themselves. Decide on your priorities and establish your routines; note the emphasis on ‘your’. Take advantage of all available resources at and outside the university. Be active and keep a record of what you do, because you will be writing another personal statement, camouflaged as a CV in a few years. As obvious as it may seem, stay on top of your studies. And finally, be nice to everyone. Actually what I mean is try to be nice!
Enjoy the experience and, keep in touch.