18 Aug 2011
I started studying for an IT degree as a 40-year-old mature student in 1999. On completion, my IT tutors told me that with my new qualification I could walk into a job. I had loads of interviews but not a single offer of employment.
OK, I thought, let’s try the Open University Diploma in Computing. I nailed that as well, all the while working 40 hours a week in the print industry, which was and still is heading down the toilet. More interviews followed, but still no job.
So then I decided to study for a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE). The guy at the open day at Glamorgan University said if I got it and then topped it up to a degree, it would change my life. I duly got the DipHE and with lots of distinctions to boot. More interviews, all with good companies, but still no job offer.
In 2007 I got my degree – a 2:1 – but at every interview I subsequently attended I encountered the same problem: an interviewer who was under the age of 30. What manager is going to employ a subordinate who is old enough to be his or her father?
And why did these twenty-something managers invite me for interview in the knowledge that I had no commercial experience, only to reject me because I didn’t have any commercial experience.
This whole arduous journey through IT education has certainly been “life changing” – for the worse. I work in an industry where manual workers and office workers are on different sides of the fence. Many of my colleagues resent my qualifications because they think I am over-qualified for my current job. The management do not encourage shop floor workers to progress to better jobs because if you do something well, that is all you are allowed to do. I cannot progress and will not be allowed to.
Four years after completing my degree, spending a lot of money that could have been put to better use elsewhere, I am actually now worse off than I would have been if I hadn’t bothered.
I have now given up my dream of an IT job and a better standard of living. Thank you to all those interviewers who knowingly and deliberately wasted my time.
C Davies BSc Hons