Students unhappy with the Chancellor’s speech regarding the student union

The implications of George Osborne’s New Year speech have been scrutinised and analysed from just about every angle; the upshot seems to be that no one is entirely happy about the state of the union and just about everybody has some niggling doubts. Budget cuts in various sectors will have an impact yet to be determined, but the budgets of some departments such as health and schools are protected, whereas the Dept. for Business, Innovation and Skills is not; that covers higher education as well.

One aspect the analysts are raising is the government’s promise to get more young people into higher education, which certainly can’t be faulted if it results in more of them landing good jobs in their chosen fields. However the down side is the budget cuts that will affect many departments in the public sector including the Department for Communities and Local Government – local councils. Since those are the entities that employ social workers, the job market for new workers tightens even more.

Universities provide higher education, but they also interact with public and private sources of employment for their graduates. Too many college-educated job seekers have found that a degree means very little if there is no market for the acquired skills or if that market can’t pay enough to make the degree worth its cost. One of the first things serious students look for is the opportunities provided by university for employable skills and that includes undergraduate hands-on training.

Related to this, the size of the Department for Communities and Local Government will be cut by some 60%, the department’s budget will see another 10% cut, according to Osborne’s plan, and the council tax freeze will be extended for another two years. This leaves a widening gap between newly qualified workers in social services and viable placements for them in the job market.