Radio 4 Interviews an NVQ student without a job…

No, Naughtie, No. Very disappointing.

So, you believe that Vocational Courses are worthless, as they don’t get you jobs. You also claim that low level courses are worthless, as they don’t get you jobs. To prove it, you wheel out someone with a NVQ in Photography who hasn’t been able to get a journalism job.

There is so much wrong with this I don’t even know where to start.

Creative industries are an appalling example to cite. If you want to get into media, you need to prove you can do the job. It really doesn’t matter what qualifications you have – what can you do with it? Had this person been sending off photographs to local newspapers? Agencies? How many has she had published without being offered a job? A job in a mainly freelance environment, may I add.

If having the qualification made you something, my degree would make me a rock star. I am not. I teach Vocational Media Production. But you didn’t come and interview any of my students – oh no, not the student who came to this college to do a low level vocational arts course (a level 1 no less – below GCSE). She has just been offered a place at Westminster University to do Radio Production. Not just because of her qualifications, but because she applied herself.

There are 3 types of media student. There are those who will not apply themselves because they are not interested. They will not have done well at school because they are couldn’t give a toss about Geography, maths etc. But they love watching films. They will write about films. We use this, and teach them how to write. They may not go anywhere, but while on a vocational Media Course, they will have developed skills in Team work, communication, Time management, selling themselves and confidence. All those easy, “soft skills” that this government seems to think are pointless and yet every employer and university are so keen to see. We help them develop as people, and sometimes they discover a love of learning because we have used a subject they have some interest in.

Then there are those students who want to apply themselves. The ones who watch the Making of DVD’s. They tend to do well on the course, develop all the skills above, but apply it outside of the course. They tend to go onto to University, or get a job – but not necessarily in the Media. It really doesn’t matter as they have found themselves and a place in society.

Then there are the ones who are already making films. We wind them up, and point them in the right direction. These are the ones who get Work experience with the BBC in their 1st year at college. The ones who end up on Hospital Radio and get into Westminster University. The ones who will get somewhere, and get the jobs. We give them the space to develop a portfolio, to show what they are capable of.

Please stop obfuscating the issue of education. Learning is something that an individual does, it is not done to them. If your interviewer is disappointed in not getting a job from her NVQ, then what else has she done about it? Any course is merely a stepping stone to show you how it is done – to open the blinkers a tad.

Low level courses act as a stepping stone. No one has ever claimed that a level 1 NVQ will get you a job directly. What it does is gives you an opportunity. Maybe if our society valued education and performance more, rather than expecting mediocrity. Education, at any level, it a tool – it is up to the student to use it to actually achieve.


About Alan Hardcastle

Media Lecturer with an interest in Pedagogy and Politics.

Posted on February 24, 2011, in Educate, meusanus and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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