A topic that has my interest and attention and goes back many years for me is the aspect of youth being unemployed.
I have always had sympathy for this cause and been an advocate of trying to be creative about how to change the situation but that was very relevant in Africa and especially so when you have the majority of the population not getting an equal education.
However that has since changed and i no longer live exposed to this issue. However through the course of my business career this problem seems to permeat across the whole world not just Africa and with the last 5 years of economic fall out has become a bigger issue in many countries.
But last Friday i got insight into something which had me thinking.
Last Friday i got to tour the University of Toronto. This is one of Canadas top Universities without doubt and compares well in the world not just Canada.
Now due to my sons desire to play football at University we ended up on a private tour with the "chosen few" that are recruit prospects for the next year.
Great one would say except i aint no sport nut and i am one of the parents that have their feet on the ground about my sons sports future.
Well i find out that the time commitment required to be part of the Varsity football team is around 30 to 35 hours per week. Yeah shock and awe hit me.
Then I get this booklet that has been printed about the team and its goals and achievements etc. All looks fine and dandy so i start looking through the pictures and notice something
There are 46 players in the team 10 rookies to watch so that presents a squad of 56.
So i start looking at the degrees these guys are studying and then it hit me.
Now you gotta know that a 4 year degree in Canada is going to set you back around $ 80K or more give or take unless the person lives at home and commutes to school each day.
So the business man in me is thinking mmmmmmh thats quiet an amount to end up coming out of school with and looking to pay off so one best be looking to study something that is gonna pay well and in demand or at least thought to be going to be in demand in 4 years time. A crap shoot at best if you think about it.
So i think well what are the current team players studying. And this is where my wheels came off.
Here is the list before i stopped bothering
Political Science 7
Arts and science 5
Physical Education 5
Urban Studies 3
Human Biology 2
Industrial Engineering 1
Business Management 1
Forestry Conservation 1
Now i got to thinking what are these guys going to do when the degree is finished to get a job?
Out of the whole bunch in all the companies i am connected to i think i can see potential for employment for around 4 maybe 5 out of 46 in the squad that i looked at.
I have no idea where all the history and political science guys are gonna get employment on such a scale that they gonna get a payback on the 80K
Seems society is saying go an get an education. But i dont see that any old education is gonna land them a job.
I told my son afterwards if you look at the numbers of your generation that are signing up for a degree and rather go do a trade like a plumber or HVAC guy where the average age in the trade right now is greater than 57 years old seems to me you will be able to do your apprenticeship and start your own contracting company with the 80K and be able to have a way better life and get a return.
He would like to take on Engineering. Frankly i dont see how he does a degree like engineering and spend 35 hours a week playing football. Might have believed it was possible if say there were 5 or 7 wanna be engineers on the team.
Anyhow its not surprising to me these kids are disillusioned and unemployed if this is what they are investing their education money on.
BTW in Canada the scholarships for athletes are regulated so its not as if these are all CFL or wanna be NFL hopefuls that have been "bought" by universities.
Education without demand for it or a field to practice it in is pretty much meaningless unless you part of the rich that can afford to simply be "intellectual".
Then we gripe when China is taking the jobs away. But they got 200 million kids in elementary and high school and who knows how many in Universities and i dont see them all studying history or political science.
Oh and to add to this issue over the holidays we meet a young lady that has just graduated from the University with a Degree in Metalurgy. Now i am thinking wow what a star. So my Mil sits down to talk to her. Mil by the way worked in the gold mining industry for most of her life and was married to a mining engineer that ran some of the biggest gold mines in SA so she knows a thing or two about metalurgy.
She could not get a word of sense out of this young lady who could only complain that she had not been able to find a job and what they were offering she was not prepared to work for.
Seems she wanted to start at a Salary of 80K per year. No kidding.
After Mil said to me she dont know squat about metalurgy and if she does she aint letting anyone else know that she does.
I cannot help but think some of this sheds light on why there are so many of these young people unemployed. Pretty sad in my view.