One of my celebrity cab customers over the last few years was Nicky Morgan MP, whom I found a pleasant and polite lady. As a qualified careers adviser I followed her move to Minister for Education with interest.
Recently, she’s been lamenting the downfall of quality impartial careers advice in school (we have the Labour party to thank for the de-professionalisation of the careers service about ten years’ ago). Interestingly, she criticised the promotion of academic learning at the expense of vocational learning, such as apprenticeships. Good luck in getting impartial careers advice back into schools, but schools will resist any move towards impartial advice, or the promotion of anything that takes bums off seats in their precious sixth forms. How I remember trying to do such a thing as a probationary careers adviser at Mereway School in Northampton. The headmaster called me into his office. He told me bluntly that he was trying to build his sixth form up and that Northampton College (of further education) could do their own publicity. He didn’t want to see me handing out college prospectuses (prospecti?). It was a traumatic event. He damn near gave me the cane – something I experienced back at my Essex Comprehensive. I wish I could remember the c***s name, but I can’t. I didn’t work in his school much more after that, and my disillusionment with what was left of the careers service, and the so-called professional world, in general, started to take hold.
Sadly, even when schools aren’t trying to shape people’s lives with their twisted agendas, society tells youngsters that apprenticeships aren’t as good as academic courses. Middle class kids are brainwashed into thinking they have to go to university to succeed – and make their parents proud (the bigger factor here). Someone going into plumbing or hairdressing can strive to start their own businesses and not end up like those boring drones who I drive around from meeting to meeting in the City. Or drive home with a stop off for a meal-for-one).
Had I done an apprenticeship I might be able to do something useful. My several years of academic wankery were great fun, but you wouldn’t ask me to put shelves up, or put up a light fitting without electrocuting myself. I wouldn’t be able to hang wallpaper – though in fairness I could write a passable short story about it. Considering the largest part of my portfolio career is driving a cab it’s a bit shameful that what goes on under the bonnet still remains a mystery. My two degrees are useless when my cab starts making funny noises and I’m at the mercy of blokes at the garage who know how things work in a practical way.
Anyway, this is about the only time I’ve written about careers since leaving Connexions Northamptonshire six years’ ago. It was quite a nice company called Career Path, before the government fucked it up. I left before I was pushed, took voluntary redundancy, and went back on the cab. I’ve always had problems with authority and driving and writing suits me better.
(It’s late at night, I’ve just done a day in London, and I’m tired. Please excuse any bad spelling, grammar, or any other issues that I could have ironed out with more judicious editing).