Friday, 5 October 2012

Bombing out.

The importance of equality and being nonjudgemental has been drilled into me throughout my uni studies. Curiously, less so during high school where, ironically, the message would create the most impact. Nevertheless, it has sunk in, and I am painfully aware of some things said off-hand by those around me (older generations in particular). Though it is not only an interesting comparison of different social groups/ages/cultures.... every now and again, a thought slips out that borders on downright judgy. So I thought I'd share one of them with you.

Some of the people I work with when I volunteer have had a very difficult time obtaining a job. Or, more specifically, a job in which their primary employment competition are not school kids (think retail, hospitality). When examining the sheer array of jobs applied for, the look of desperation and exasperation on their faces, I cannot help but see a common theme (well, there is two, but given that addiction affects people from all sections of the community, I discount it here).
The theme is this: they did not finish school. And, finances aside, goodness me it limits what they can do.

I understand why the Government is so hell-bent on keeping kids in school, or if not, sending them into a trade. My mother, bless her, knows this better than anyone. Indeed, neither of my parents finished year 12. Instead, dad entered the police academy, and mum the workforce.
Her experiences, and I suspect limitations, are what drive her to throw us three kids into further study of something. Anything. My sister will become an artist. One does not need qualifications to do so, but it sure as hell looks good on the resume, to discover that the pretty redhead with the prettier drawings has had some professional training.

But I digress. Seeing people in their 30s and 40s, unable to find a job that they either 1, would love to do, or 2, simply one they can maintain, is heartbreaking. Especially so when you see how much they want to work.
So when I hear of children (for that is what they are in the eyes of the law) leaving school at 14, 15, 16, to work full time in retail, supermarkets and the like, I cannot help but want to box them over the ears and yell 'you might see it as pointless now, but you will regret it later if you pull out now!'
My boyfriend did just this, got 6 months into a chef apprenticeship, realised he hated it, and then couldn't go back to school (such is the way of the UK education system). He regretted dropping out within a year of doing it. Having said that, many people find a profession, and work their way up. Said boyfriend could well become a state manager of a big transport business in Australia if he keeps working like he does.
But how many people leave school prematurely and never gain a skill or qualification. They might be pieces of paper, but once learnt, it's a skill valued for life. Why throw that away?