View Full Version : OT - Education and Careers

19-06-2004, 12:04 AM
This is an enquiry of the younger members.

I'm curious. Today you are being told to get "qualifications" and how important education is. Furthermore, the message is that you have to surf the Knowledge Wave into the future - or you'll end up in a dead-end job.

Are these the messages you and your friends are recieving? Do you believe it? What careers do you want, or expect?

19-06-2004, 11:06 AM
As far as I can see, a degree/tertiary qualification is only there to get you into your first job or promoted. After that its just based on experience from previous jobs.

Basically you have to remember that its not what you know but who you know, and that is definite. Making heaps of contacts and dealing well with lots of people is far more important than a qualification.

- David

19-06-2004, 11:22 AM
I am not university qualified, but have completed career-related studies to obtain a qualification recognised in the sector I work in. I wish, looking back now, that I went into a trade.

I would have loved to be an electrician, but was put off it by the careers person when I was at school as it wasn't 'the way of the future'. I see what plumbers, sparkies, builders etc earn now and given the type of work they do I have some regrets I took a white collar career in some ways.

I agree with David about it's who you know that helps. I am extremely fortunate, I have never been unemployed. I have been made redundant once and picked up a job the day after leaving - through having contacts.

Still wish I was wiring up homes etc ...... if I could drop back to an apprentice's wage and re-train, I would :D

19-06-2004, 11:27 AM
Jester, your mad.

I mean it.

Get help son, You need powerful medicine.

Billy T
19-06-2004, 11:49 AM
Nah, you are not mad Jester. Being an electrician can be a very remunerative job, and it is not by any means confined to wiring houses. There are some hi-tech jobs out there that merge electrical knowledge with electronic/computer technology.

If you were lucky you might find an employer who would pay well for your present skill-set and provide the training and prectical experience you need to get qualified as an electrician at the same time.

It is entirely possible to retrain, and you don't necessarily have to drop back to apprentice rates. Unlike electronics, which was my primary training and has since seen the bottom fall out of servicing opportunities, technology is unlikely to remove the need to distribute electricity around residential and commercial buildings, it just keeps adding more data cabling needs to the list of opportunities.

If you are half serious, take a look Here (http://www.etco.co.nz) then phone and discuss your options.


Billy 8-{)

19-06-2004, 04:26 PM
Excellent Jester and Billy. That is exactly the point I was leading up to.

I believe our children are being mislead by well-intentioned but shallow educationalists.

The fact is, we need a wide range of skills in our society. Some of those skills are being overlooked, such as electricians, which is criminal.

On the other hand, we have kids learning about surfing, snow-board instructing, writing rap music. These, with respect, for 95%, are hobbies - not careers.

In the meantime NZ is short of carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and engineers (fitter/turner). For pitys sake - why??

Trust me, if you want to earn a good income, have your own business, and real skills - consider the above. And there is no reason why A students should be directed away. The more intelligence in these business's, the better.

~~~~~ s y ~~~~~
19-06-2004, 05:27 PM
I still have a open-mind to my career path.

Electricians and plumbers should never, ever be overlooked. I have seen too many reports of them earning 6 figures. I have considered it, but it just doesn't fit me. Not because of educational overload, but because I'm not the most fit; I'm not a heavy-weight lifter; I don't do well with Engineering type problems (science).

Hence, have got no choice to take on the white collar. Have confirmed to myself to take on conjoint degree (I can't choice between them). They are subjects I enjoy/think I will enjoy, and ones that I know I'm good at. These are Law and Commerce. I have always had no problems with money since god-knows-when. Law, because I like the social world, very nosey if you want to put it that way. Engineering will bore me very quick. I'm not taking on accounting either. Boring at times! So, I figured, I will be a business operations consultant, or an auditor of some sort. The reason why I don't want to go too much into law is due to the fact that I'm not the best at public speaking. I do enjoy criticism type essays.

Also, I'm taking Law because I know that as time go on, this place is going to get worse and more rough. Hence more trouble, hence people to sort them out. ... Lawyers come in... But a judge remains my dream-job. Would make me feel sooooo powerful. ]:)

Degrees wise, I'm aiming for an masters in at least Commerce. I wouldn't mind entering the workforce later. Isn't it nature for people in white collars to try get the best qualification they can? I think so.

If there's no money, I wouldn't mind studying philosophy, psychology... etc. I think they're fun :8} But problem been... not much options of career pathways.

Murray P
19-06-2004, 06:56 PM
Well Winny, I'm not in the category of a young student starting out but have been a student of sorts in the recent past to enable me to take a career turn.

My family is rather academic but I was not too interested in getting multiple degrees and phd's to add a few letters to my name. The fact that dad was convinced that the army was the place for me probably sums up where I was at, many many years ago, and what I did during the years that I should have been doing more than eating my lunch and smoking down the bank (I used to frustrate the hell out of the poor guy and I'm sure he was embarrassed every time he went to a school board meeting). Anyway, I didn't take dads advice, instead I took an apprenticeship in carpentry & joinery and thouraghly enjoyed the experience, past all my exams and the extra qual's I could get, suddenly study had a purpose.

Fast forward, after having been a builder (self employed) worked in construction management, sales and marketing and had a company go down the gurgler with catostrophic results to both self esteem and financially then, back in management I decided that this lark was not interesting anymore nor financially rewarding enough. So, I took a punt, registered a company, applied to become a member of an industry organisation for which I had to study and sit exams, submit work, and be interviewed. Got accepted, then did another round of courses and exams to enable me to take on a specific role within the industry.

The upshot is, I am now considered an expert (a used drip), I have a consultacy business, charge at least three to four times the going rate for a builder and turn away 30 to 40% of enquiry and could if I wished do work exclusively for one client. I would love to have the time to do a building science degree and that is a medium term goal that would nail down my annual CPD requirements for a few years. I'm not rich, not even well off (see previous catastrophy, it still costs) but I'm now set up, most importanly
enjoying every dam second of my work.

One regret is that I did not take these steps earlier, in fact I wish I had listened more to my old man, knuckled down at school and gone to uni. On the other hand, if I had done so I would not be in the enjoyable position I am now, who knows.

One thing that worries me Winny, and especially as we have teenage children going to high school, is that the courses do not seem to be as grounded in reality as they could be. There is too much of a soft passage with little of the reality of the world being inculcated in to their wee minds. To my mind there are so many kids taking dead end subjects and more doing dead end (fee paying courses) at poytechnics and university that it is scary. We have a huge gap in skills in this counttry and seem to be doing little about it or preparing our children (my how the worm turns). Even the apprenticeship system is, by and large, shot with a long way to go to bring back skill and knowledge that have been almost permanently lost to industries (hence leaky building syndrome and the costly process to resovle and remediate the the cases let alone cure the ill that allowed it to happen). It is my opinion that the knowledge wave is market/politico speak for lets have everone believe we are on the ball and doing something worthwhile rather than letting NZ drift in to a low paid service economy (servicing offshore needs) which is done better anyway by other countries with biggers populations.

Phew! now I'm going OT on the OT and reakon that I've only said half of what I want to get across. Must come from working by myself in my little office looking at nitty gritty details. I must more, maybe I should get the mail from the letterbox instead of letting the kids do it :D

Cheers Murray P

Murray P
19-06-2004, 07:02 PM
> I must get out more, maybe I should get the mail from the letterbox
> instead of letting the kids do it.

That makes a little more sense, mabe ;)

Cheers Murray P

19-06-2004, 07:07 PM
Hi there,

As a young person, I am one of the ones that believes completely in academic studies. I strive to do my best at school (and in the process take years off my life in stress) - but I know that at the end of it all that matters is getting a job.

I will go to University and do somesort of masters, but in the mean time (well last year, aged 14) I went to weltec and did a DipICT 5 and 6 (not finished yet), and at the beginning of this year I passed Network +, all so I could go out there and get a decent part time job to pay for more computers.

I'm now more qualified that our IT technician and I don't get paid anything...

But my ultimate goal is to get rich, through investment property and my own businesses (which I have already).

~~~~~ s y ~~~~~
19-06-2004, 08:45 PM
> But my ultimate goal is to get rich, through
> investment property and my own businesses (which I
> have already).

Just like everybody else ;-)

I'm not a true believer of this, however, I just want to know where people get the stereotyped idea of "A smart person doesn't do diplomas". Although I'm not interested in them just now, I actually would be quite interested to know if there is a pattern between kids who start diplomas at around 15, and their grades at their normal school, and finally, comparing this with the ages of people who do this and leave school early. Although I know many people who have still done well after starting diploma studies, I'm just a bit concerned over the people who procrastinate and as a result, lose interest in the normal school.

Also to mention, schools back in the land of Poms :p (sorry... had to say that, hey! Rugby is on tonight, I wonder who'll win) are taking a more specialised path earlier. Included in that system is about 30 + NZ schools that have opted to do the Cambridge International Examinations as opposed to the NCEA that the NZ government made up. We have been told that we're only permitted to take 4 subjects next year, English, Mathematics and two else! Hard choice I must say...

As a young child at kindy, in my profile I wrote that I wanted to become a 'computer scientist' (that was what many called them back then, until they became common -engineers, and finally technicians) At that time I had never ever seen or touched a computer. God knows how I found the term, 'computer'. However, I have since given up completely. The world seems to have a great surplus of these skills now.

Two career paths I think will never fade: doctors and lawyers. I do believe that a few decade down the track, psychologists will be added, due to the extra problems been created by people everyday.

19-06-2004, 09:17 PM
Very interesting posts. I suspect that PF1 isn't the ideal place for the questions because most younger members seem to be well educated already with good prospects for tertiary education. But what are your friends/classmates aiming to do?

It seems to me that we approach education from the wrong end. Dave's view is typical - get qualifications to get a job. And he's right. Ultimately we must all eat.

But the pursuit of knowledge itself is a much richer reward. You can loose money later, even your career (seen any tinkers lately), but you can't forget what you learn. By all means have a career in mind but smell the roses along the way.

My point is that we need to embrace education for its own sake. Learn for the sake of learning. A bit of foreign language, science, classics, psychology, arts, food technology, metalwork etc. Some of it will stick and in the very long term make life much more interesting. It will also enrich our society and have unexpected rewards in future work.

I'm touched by your thoughtful comments Murray. Turning away from education is the worst choice but fortunately times have changed for the better. The quality of education and lack of focus are the current problems.


19-06-2004, 10:10 PM
>I'm curious. Today you are being told to get "qualifications" and how important education is. Furthermore, the message is that you have to surf the Knowledge Wave into the future - or you'll end up in a dead-end job.

>Are these the messages you and your friends are recieving? Do you believe it? What careers do you want, or expect?

Yeah.. that's the kind of bollocks I had to put up with when I was college a few years back.. Now I'm part of the furniture at weltec.. essentially I have network+, A+, HDA (equivilent studies.. just gotta sit the exams) and most of a BIT, as well as most of linux+, lpi1, lpi2 and RHCE.

I reckon one of the old rules still applies though: "It's not what you know but who you know"

A mate who was a fellow student and workmate (we taught at weltec as well) pushed my cv in the right places and voila.. I now have a job with a large IT Solutions provider as a technical analyst getting paid in the lower $20 per hour bracket. (well, getting a 100% pass mark on my technical exam and doing well in my interview helped too) ;)

Understandably, going from a $120 per week dead end job to a 4-digit per week career starting job is not a bad step for a young student such as myself.

The truth about studies these days is that first year tertiary is quite often a shock, when you've got students coming out of an archaic and out-of-touch primary and secondary schooling system which is based on dependant learning: what teacher says is right. Do as teacher says. A system that, to sound like an angsty goth teen, bends young minds into closed minded conformity.

Then you go to tertiary where they bend you in another direction: Independant learning. No teachers now, you have "tutors" who simply tell you what you're going to learn and how you're going to learn it. Then you go and do that. It's up to you to find the required information on the internet, textbooks and in libraries. But effectively, most 1 and 2 year courses at tertiary level are primarily designed to teach you how to learn independantly. It's when you get to third year that things start to click. It helps that at that level most of the people who just werent made out for independant learning have long since left.

The problem here is a lot of people hold their qualifications in higher regard than deserved. You get a lot of tertiary "qualified" graduates thinking they're the bees knees, know it all, and the world owes them an insta-job. This is especially problematic in the IT industry where a lot of people go into the industry because "oh I'll get into computers because they pay lots of money."

The result is that the industry is saturated with tertiary "qualified" people who really do not know anything filling up jobs that could be better served by people who are in the industry because they are genuinely interested, or even passionate, about IT.

A combination of qualifications and experience, as well a fallback plan should be the focus in my opinion.

I do have a combination of qualifications, experience AND a fallback plan (8 years in the butcher industry.) Giving youngins experience would be tricky in some industries such as IT where there's mission critical gear about... However that hasnt stopped some of my peers at work.

One engineer in particular started volunteering his time helping out the admins of the IT infrastructure for a large oil company, built up some experience and quietly got qualified and now he's 21, considered a Unix guru and has just departed to england to be paid 3 times more than he was here as a Senior Systems Engineer!.

19-06-2004, 10:11 PM
My diploma was only because I wanted to make my computer knowledge mean something - and because I wanted a job - rest assured though, I'm not slacker at school as a result :D

PS. Many people want to be rich but don't know how. Some people know how but can't be bothered. Those who are rich are the radical ones who don't give up - I don't plan to be in retail for much longer.

~~~~~ s y ~~~~~
19-06-2004, 11:05 PM
> PS. Many people want to be rich but don't know how.
> Some people know how but can't be bothered. Those who
> are rich are the radical ones who don't give up - I
> don't plan to be in retail for much longer.

I once heard that every person, in his/her lifetime, has an average of 15 (or was it 11.. no I think 15) ideas that would make them millionaires. Those of us who aren't millionaire are just "lazy" and "uncommitted".

Back to what I was talking about with the Cambridge vs. NCEA, many of my mates still have no idea as to what they are heading for at university. So, cannot choose to specialise as Cambridge makes you to. Thus, although they're amongst the top in the country, don't have a choice but to drop back to NCEA, which we all know how much many dislike. These people, I believe, are mainly made up of parents who are quite successful. Many youths with rich parents just don't care, thinking they've got the back up. It is those coming from not-so-posh backgrounds, and working class families that are usually the most hard-working and committed.

If you are wondering what school I go to, it's the second to Auckland Grammar (which, suprisingly is dropping year after year. I do believe this takes us back to my point above, where their parents can afford the premium house prices within the zone, hence students don't care as much)

20-06-2004, 12:53 AM
There is a saying:

One generation to make it
One generation to use it
And one generation to spend it.

Not a lot of families are able to continue being rich beyond 2 generations Sy. Those rich kids will be a sad sight one day. Just the natural order of things.

This leads on to a bit of home-spun wisdom. When you are young and poor, you naturally want to be rich. The pursuit of money blinds us to the important things in life - health, respect, and, the love of family and friends.

I still think about my OE 20 years ago. The poorest people I met, the Sudanese, were also the most generous and happiest. That was despite the war which was going on in the early 1980s.

Some of the richest people I know, are also the most bitter, intolerant, and unhappy individuals you could meet. And they are completely unaware of it.

Earn good money by all means, but don't be blinded in the pursuit.


20-06-2004, 05:54 AM

I think not!

~~~~~ s y ~~~~~
20-06-2004, 03:22 PM
Thank you Winston. Exactly what I forgot to mention. I've heard of a similar saying, not sure exactly what it was, but was along the lines that explained that the 'rich' can't last for more than three generations. Amongst some of my mates, I can already see the money flying out their pockets....

But also, some people try to act rich, but in fact aren't. Don't know why. On the other hand, there are the odd ones who are super rich and well qualified, but still, remain polite and give help when the need arise. Like most people, those are the ones I like :)

20-06-2004, 05:02 PM
> Are these the messages you and your friends are
> recieving?

Very much so, I look at the number of people in my year group who have gone to university, mostly because it's the done thing. After a couple of years the majority have changed courses, often more than once, or even withdrawn completely.

I myself am on stint #2 of tertiary study having canned my first degree as I wasn't enjoying it.

> Do you believe it?

To an extent I think it is true, there is a pressing requirement in the workplace to have qualification for even seemingly menial jobs, though at the same time these employers are demanding experience which often doesn't come hand in hand.

>What careers do you want, or expect?

I think for the most, careers that are going to bring money have an immediate glint. Me, I'm after job satisfaction. At present I am working full-time in the IT industry - not because I want to, but because it's good money and it's something I can do well.

Whilst working in IT, I am paying over $6k per year and working my ass off to complete a full-time qualification in a medical field, which ironically when I graduate (6 months to go thank God) is going to pay less than the job I am curently doing with no formal qualifications.

That said, I think there is too bigger emphasis on qualifications, particularly with the number of seemingly worthless qualifications being attained by people at the moment.

There are a lot of people going through training instititutes to get things like Scuba Diving qualifications amongst others that are really of little value in the real world, and are often misrepresented as having huge employment avenues, which result in little more than a hefty student loan.

The same can be said for the myriad of IT training institutes cropping up - people are coming out with huge loans, and no tangible skills that can be used in an IT workplace. A recent graduate of a well-known IT course I am familiar with deleted the entire content of her D: drive because a Word document wouldn't save. Go figure.

20-06-2004, 06:19 PM
I'm afraid I do not fit in the 'young' category.

But I can tell you it was drummed into me from a very young age that an education is the only road to success.

When I came out into the workforce (back in the early 80's) the workforce was saturated with graduates. So much so I started in a very low paying job just so I could gain work experience for two years.

The irony was some of my school mates who left after fifth form to work as salepeople were earning great money. They drive expensive cars, bought houses and they have this aggresive and confident attitude towards work, it consumes them to reach the million dollar club.

I'm now in my 40's and I realise if I had a chance to re-live my life again, I will probably still go into the same line of work I am today. Because that is where I get my work satisfaction from.

So in short - it's not the qualifications - it is the career you are interested in and the effort you put into it that will determine whether you are successful in life.

20-06-2004, 07:41 PM
WTF makes a very good point. Some of these "qualifications" are almost bogus but the students don't know that. Courses are offered almost in desperation by institutions to get enrollments = money = viability. Never mind the shallowness of what is taught.

For example, I know of a commercial fishing course where the students spent about 6 weeks watching videos of "Gone Fishing".

Too many kids only see the money. They think white collar is the only choice. No one tells them about the skilled tradesmen who are laughing their way to the bank - and enjoy their work.

Not everyone is able or suited to academic study. Trades are just as important. IT is great - but without a building, electricity, and plumbing, you're not going to get a lot done.

The other point is the assumption that if you are a plumber, you just stop learning. Why is that? It's nonsense. None of us ever need to stop learning - there is always more. As demonstrated by some of the above posts.

Education is wonderful and should be embraced. We just need to make it rich and appropriate. As opposed to "relevant" which only leads to the narrow path of complete career focus.

20-06-2004, 10:39 PM
> Too many kids only see the money. They think white
> collar is the only choice. No one tells them about
> the skilled tradesmen who are laughing their way to
> the bank - and enjoy their work.

Amen to that. Just try getting hold of a builder/plumber/sparky these days, they are turning away work faster than anyone else, whilst all the IT trained, lawyers and teachers are combing the paper looking for jobs.

~~~~~ s y ~~~~~
21-06-2004, 12:09 AM
> trained, lawyers and teachers are combing the paper
> looking for jobs.

Teachers and nurses are greatly demanded these days. I would consider it if money didn't matter. I don't think they get a fair pay.

~~~~~ s y ~~~~~
21-06-2004, 12:11 AM
I must thank you, WTF, on behalf of the nation, for choosing a medical profession. We need you! Just don't go on your OE as soon as your complete with your course. I'm not considering it because I know that medical students need good grades (which at times I lose hope in). And must admit, am quite scared of blood. Too many bad experience of accidents.

21-06-2004, 01:55 AM
>Teachers and nurses are greatly demanded these days. I would consider it if money didn't matter. I don't think they get a fair pay

I agree here.. I'm paid a better hourly rate than my mum, who is an RN. What I do is basically overglorified upper level helpdesk tasks.. so when helpdeskers are being paid more than RN's, something isnt quite right...

21-06-2004, 02:11 AM
> I must thank you, WTF, on behalf of the nation, for
> choosing a medical profession.

Heh... thanks :-)

But tell the government who won't fund our course as yet *mutter mutter*

I know Steve Maharey won't be waiting for another Iwi consult when he calls for help, why should we for funding?

Meanwhile I could become a homeopathist, beauty therapist, masseuse or rescue diver and the government'd pay. Yay!

21-06-2004, 02:13 AM
Gah, why doesn't this forum have an edit button!?!?!?!

Was going to add that I have just submitted my last essay for this semester. The next six weeks I only have to work, not study as well! It's gunna be bliss.

1 semester to go then I get to put on a weird looking hat and a cape.

21-06-2004, 12:03 PM
I know that feeling WTF.

Only a few measly months left and I get to wear that funny cape and hat set up as well :)

I am not one of the 'young' people though. I spent around three yhears at University 10 years ago because those with good grades through to 7th Form (as it was back then) were "encouraged" to do so. I didn't enjoy the degree (Commererce) and I left without completing it.

I then spent the next 7 years doing different middle management/supervisory roles in retail style outlets before deciding that I wanted to go back and gain a qualification to accompany the practical IT skills and experience I held. The reason for this was that without that piece of paper it was vitually impossible to get my skills recognised by a prospective employer. So after struggling through 2 1/2 years on virtually no money (with a wife and two infants to support) I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The scary part is I still have no employment lined up for after graduation in my field. I do have employment available though - full-time as a salesman at the appliance store where I am currently working part-time (and BTW these salesman can make some good money between salaries and our companies sales bonus structure)

~~~~~ s y ~~~~~
21-06-2004, 07:58 PM
> 1 semester to go then I get to put on a weird looking
> hat and a cape.

Just out of interest, what is degree are you studying to? Which institution?

22-06-2004, 04:45 PM
for me it is a B.Info.Tech at Otago Polytechnic :)