On any given night, step outside into the night sky and watch the explosion of the higher education Supernova in slow motion.

The shards and fragments spewing into the atmosphere are the 26% of university graduates who can’t find work in the year following their studies and the one third of VET graduates who can’t find work in the area they’ve trained in.

The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has released How Young People are Faring 2013, the annual series that provides point-in-time and trend information on the education, employment and transitions of young Australians.

It’s tough even for educated kids to get onto that first rung, and it would appear that Tertiary institutions keep selling a dream that’s often far from reality.

Perhaps that exploding supernova will clear a way for a better perspective.

My point of view is this:  given that over half of what we learn we learn ‘on the job’, maybe it’s time for a more intertwined learning and working model.  Regardless of whether it’s tax audit, law, insurance or banking, science or engineering, there is huge scope to have yet –to-be-qualified, lower-paid bright young  things ‘learning by doing’ alongside experienced professionals.  And then, once they’ve found an appetite for a profession or an industry sector, they can feed that hunger through tertiary studies.

Remember the many CEOs who started on the proverbial shop floor and went on to gain qualifications at night school.

Now with flexible study arrangements, this might be full-time, part-time or online.  We still seem to be feeding a message to school-leavers that University and further education is the Winning Ticket.   It may be for some, but it dilutes the ‘learning through work now -study later’ that also suits many bright young people.

Peter Thiel the US entrepreneur who actively sponsors young people out of education says that part of the reason people freak out about not going to University is that it’s seen as an insurance policy.  Thiel has argued that people put in the time and money not ‘to learn’ per se, but for the security that a better life and good job awaits. Increasingly, as costs have risen and the economy has faltered, the security of that has been called into question, and higher education has come under assault.

That’s my Point of View,  what’s yours?

Geoff Slade