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April 7th, 2015

Goings on

I got to a point where I felt assessing apprentices was becoming more of a ball ache than it should be. May would have been the 4th year of my career as an assessor and despite working for five different apprenticeship providers over the years (Zenos, Pearson in Practice, Vision Workforce Skills, Aspire Achieve Advance and The Tess Group) and not getting the proper qualifications to do so, I reached an empass.
[Spoiler (click to open)]
With dirty tricks, dodgy contracts and a dramatic shift in how the government pushed apprenticeships in an effort to increase and justify a low paid workforce, I began to feel that I was just exasperating the situation with today's youth. Furthermore, having to teach 16-24 year olds what is meant by "Next of Kin", that the opportunities they have today are much better than when I was their age was getting to me. Listening to the same excuses as to why work hadn't been completed as requested, as well as complicated and often unnecessary administrative processes made the situation worse. A situation that had been exacerbated by an overwhelming feeling of being burnt out, lack of support, unrealistic expectations and constantly being on the road.

So again, I've taken the first opportuntity offered to me to get out. As of Monday 13th, I'm starting a new job as a training coordinator for a small firm based in Banbury. I've got to learn the ropes, write procedure documents and help out with their social media. It's still not what I went to University for but it's better than not knowing when I'm going to be home, increasing my carbon footprint and being disappointed with the education system in the UK today.

It seems that being middle aged in today's economic environment means that you're either trapped in a job you hate or constantly dreaming about unrealistic career changes and the jobs market in the UK today is not ideal unless you're under 24. All the old admin and entry level jobs seem to now be low paid apprenticeships which means if you're over 24 you've got no chance (employers are looking to qualify for an age grant thus disadvantaging everyone else) and it also seems that unless you're fresh out of Uni with a large sum of mum and dad's money, Masters degrees are pie in the sky costing £9000 a year minimum.

It's made worse when you consider the fact that skill sets expire a lot quicker these days than in the past. My IT background only supports me to Windows 7 at a push and my media background is already out of date with changes in how people consume media. Coupled with lack of experience in media and being too busy to do any useful CPD, I'm basically back at square one.

As always, when making a career shift, I'm thinking of the next step. I want to do something for myself next. Be my own boss. But I have no idea what sort of business to do. Retail, once a temptation, has changed with more and more people shopping online now meaning the high streets are dying. Leisure is great if you are sporty or into floaty vagina shite. Marketing is very cut throat, difficult to break into without experience and unsustainable. And IT is also heading the way of the coal mines as more and more sealed units, tablet computers and cloud based systems are adopted by companies. I can see the doors closing. I can see the ugly back end of a new future arriving but little in the way of retraining for the over 40s exists and adult education is a dead fish.

So I'm trying to remain positive and optimistic. Apprenticeships under a ConDem coalition have been abused and misused, something the mainstream media should pick up on. We also have the election around the corner. The government will hopefully change as will the world of work.  I'm hoping people will start to realise that zero hour contracts and the incessant vote winning policies of "Think of the children first" are more damaging to society and the economy than a host of dodgy bankers.

At least I will be out of education (of sorts) at long last.

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