Train Stories – The Journey Continues …

25 years ago my son Steven came into the world.

Where did that go?

Now he’s 6 foot 2 tall handsome intelligent funny and a real fine young man that I’m proud to call my son.

Forgetting about the divorce trauma etc.

He’s had a few ups and downs in that transition from child to adult.

He fluffed a year at uni,  his own fault,  he was lazy and was partying when he should have been studying.

But he qualified with a 2.1 honours degree in Cell Biology.  A pretty good degree for the research he wanted to do.

Unfortunately after a year of searching there were no jobs available.

That’s the hard reality for lots of kids these days,  we educate them but the jobs just aren’t there for them.

Steven upped his hours at the supermarket to get a little income but his confidence was affected.

That age group of 18-25 has the highest suicide rate for young men.

They’ve listened to their teacher, studied hard,  or maybe they haven’t,  but in either case they realise that the world as projected on tv with fast cars, fashionable clothes and hot girlfriends just isn’t there for them.

They reach a point were they don’t know what else they can do.  That their life is meaningless and going nowhere and now they have a 40k student loan to deal with when they do find work.

On top of that they feel disappointed that they’ve let their families down.

20 something years of age with their full life’s ahead of them and these poor kids choose to end it because they can’t see a way ahead and think that they have let us down when it’s the other way around.

As a society we let these kids down by not guaranteeing them a job at the end of their degree course.

Education shouldn’t be there just for its own sake. It should be there to fulfil a purpose of moving your life forward, giving the kids the benefit of growing up before they have to face the real world and earn a living.

They shouldn’t then start paying back a 40k student loan, an albatross preventing them from getting on the housing ladder and getting on in life.

Education costs,  there’s no free handouts,  but as a society, we should pick that cost up and consider that an investment in having an educated taxpaying workforce.

A couple of years ago,  I seen the disappoint in my sons face with each application failure,  he put on a brave face,  kept the chin up and kept trying but after a year there was nothing.

I was worried.

When it comes to your kids,  you’d do anything for them.  Anything.

The day each of my three were born,  I cut the cords, held them, passed them to Alison, cried, laughed and made a silent prayer to God that no matter what he takes me first.

That’s the parent promise.

After that year of nothing had passed,  I could feel his despondency.   As a parent you can’t ignore that.

I work in IT,  it’s always paid well and there are lots of opportunities if you have the skills.

Steven didn’t.

But IT is changing,  it’s becoming less technology focused and more business focussed.

A new role has materialised,  Business Analysis,  people who don’t know the technology but can understand what the business wants to achieve and drive the technology forward.

With modern high bandwidth networks and reduced labour costs,  technology is often offshored and outsourced while the core business remains in the UK or USA. 

As a consequence of this there are more jobs around for BAs than IT developers and they are often better paid due to supply and demand.

18 months later Steven now has a Masters Degree in Business Analysis from Strathclyde Business School.

He’s had more interviews in a month than he had for his Cell Biology degree in a year.

Two weeks ago,  he did an interview on the Wednesday with a software company in Edinburgh and with a pensions company in Glasgow on the Thursday.

On the Friday at 6pm as I sat on the train home from Edinburgh he called me and told me that both companies wanted him to start as soon as possible.

That brought its own dilemma of which one was the right choice.  but we agreed the Edinburgh job had the better future.

Today he starts his new job in Edinburgh and let’s say that I’m more than a little proud.

It’s been a journey …

Now it continues and he’s ready to face the world.

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