Wednesday, 26 September 2007

University: Are students getting a fair deal?

Many University students here in the UK are this week enjoying Freshers Week or if they are a returning student are starting to make their way back to University for the start of term proper.

The questions that come up a lot in conversation for me when I am out and about talking to people are:

Will I be guaranteed to get a job after I leave University?


Do you I have to go to University to get the job I want or is getting experience in the workplace better than going to University?

It seems that these days schools and colleges are pushing University as the route to go to get a good income in later life and they are pushing it on all students regardless of their aspirations. Now I went to University and am proud of my University education but that doesn’t mean I think that everybody should go well at least go whilst Universities are in their current state.

With tuition fees rising each year to the point now that I look at them and think that if I was thinking about going to university today I just couldn’t afford it. Now I know you can put a price on a good education but when someone is paying for a service they expect the best value for their money something which I think Universities aren’t doing at the moment. The prices have gone up but the amount of graduates finding well paid jobs in their specialist areas hasn’t.

For me personally it took me two years after University to get a job in my specialism and if it hadn’t been for me filling out hundreds of application forms and not giving up I could have quite easily ended up working in an office job all my life. Universities need to do more to connect their students with jobs at the end of their degrees.

Going to University shouldn’t be about getting a grade on a piece of paper it should be about learning and experiencing the skills that you need to work in today’s environment. I personally would like educational establishments to work with people and companies from the industries in which they run courses in. I want them to work in partnership to devise courses and modules that will give students real skills that are applicable to today’s marketplace. I want industries and educational establishments to also work in partnership to offer work experience, work placements and jobs to graduates and under graduates in their educational establishments.

If we don’t want to see a continuing large amount of potential, talent and skills go to waste we need to act now. I think the government need to look at and address this issue. The more skilled people you can get in to the workplace the better this country is going to be. The quicker you can get people in to well paying jobs the quicker they will be able to pay back their student debt and contribute to the economy instead of being a burden to it.

University students don’t want to spend their lives in debt they want to contribute to this society and this economy we as a country and the government now needs to give them the chance to do so.

Universities need to stop being graded on the intellect and the grades of their students and alumni but on the number of their graduates that find skilled work in the areas in which they studied.

When I talk to people who are thinking of going to University I always advise them to speak to people who are in the industry they eventually want to work in first to see how they got in to that industry and if University is the best route. If you have decided University is for you then you need to research courses and University and find out about the modules and find out what past students on that course have gone on to do. Finally once they get to University I always advise them to get as much work experience in their chosen field as possible as with a University Education and a ton of experience you can’t go wrong.

Because of my views and the views of many others on the current University system we here at Talented Young People are petitioning the government to start taking this issue seriously and to do something about it.

You can sign our petition by going to:

Or if you want to discuss this matter and air your opinions join in our topic of the week on Universities:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

High School Musical 2

This Friday (21/9) sees the long awaited UK Premiere of Disney movie High School Musical 2. The film is the follow up to the highly successful High Musical which hit our screens in 2006. The film premiered in America last month but this is going to be the first time people in the UK will be able to watch it as it screened on the Disney Channel.

This new movie franchise has been a runaway success for Disney who originally were just making this film as part of their annual average of ten movies for TV a year they make. Because of this Disney didn’t put a huge promotional budget aside it for to begin with but after it’s first airing a buzz started to generate as by word of mouth and viewer demand it soon become the hottest young peoples film of the year. It was that successful that it was the first time I had ever seen a DVD and soundtrack from a TV movie in the top ten of their respective charts at the same time.

You ask any person below the age of 16 in the UK or America and they have heard of High School Musical with ten’s of millions of youngsters owning the DVD, CD or watching it on TV. It has become a global phenomenon to the point that for the release of the second film they were able to do big movie premiere style events and global publicity tours to promote it, something unheard of for a made for TV movie.

In a time where society, family and young people seem to be going off the rails and a time where I personally question a lot of media content and it’s suitability for young people it is so great to see wholesome family entertainment with good messages and values being seen by so many people.

When I go and work with young people I hear many young people singing along to the High School Musical soundtrack and many people pretending to be either Troy (Zac Efron) or Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) the two main leads in the film. For a film to encourage young people to sing, to act and to come out of their shells I think is an amazing thing which not many films have been able to achieve.

I am yet to see the second film so I can’t say if it is going to be as inspiring and entertaining for young people but I’m sure if it stays true to the High School Musical fan base and to the messages put across in the first film.

This Friday it’s going to be time to learn the lyrics and dance moves to a whole new group of songs after you have now probably worn out your CD for the first movie soundtrack. All I can say is that I hope Disney continue to produce films like this and I want to be the first in line to praise them for what they have created with this franchise.

We here at Talented Young People want to know what you think about the High School Musical films for our topic of the week. So why not go and post your thoughts on what the sequel is going to be like and then log on after it airs to share your views on what it was actually like.

To cast your views go to:

Before I go this week I need to remind you to vote in the Talented Young People Awards for September. The Talented Young People Awards have been set up to recognise incredible young talent and the five names you have to choose between this month are:

Andy Murray - British Tennis star

Keira Knightley - British Actress

Newton Faulkner - British Singer / Songwriter

Theo Walcott - Arsenal and England Football Player

Amy Macdonald - British Singer / Songwriter

To cast your vote go to:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Women's World Cup

If you are lucky enough to be at home during the day with no school or work to go to this month you could be enjoying the Women’s World Cup. Unlike the men’s world cup it isn’t talked about on every TV or Radio Show or written about in every newspaper but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the same attention the men’s version of the competition gets.

The lack of press coverage isn’t helped by the fact that the tournament is being held over in China which means the kick off times are during the day so many people who are at school or work can’t watch it live. So this means if you want to watch it you have to get some kind of recording device in order to follow it’s progress.

If I asked many people to name an England ladies football team player many would probably struggle but if I asked them to name a player for the men’s side they would be able to tell me in a heartbeat even if they had never watched a game. In an era where England is not developing many world class athletes or sportspeople who go on to be the top in their sport our ladies has team one of the best female players in the world by the name of Kelly Smith who opened up her world cup account with two goals in her first game.

It’s not just ladies football but many other sports where our country has world class competitors but because these sports may no be popular they don’t get the recognition they deserve.

In the case of football the game is the same game with the same laws regardless of if you are male or female so they should be treated equally. Yes ok it isn’t going to happen over night but I hope as a country and a world we can get behind women’s football and female sports in general. We need to encourage females to succeed in sport and support them when they do.

For all you girls out there that want to get involved in football I say go for it. I know it is annoying that at the moment many female footballers have to have second jobs to pay the bills but can you really put a price on being able to put on your country’s jersey and play in a world cup? That opportunity in itself is immense and should drive young girls o want to achieve in football.

The only way we are going to get the press and media to increase their coverage of the women’s game is by getting out there and supporting it ourselves and by doing this we are going to create a better future for female sports in the UK.

If you have an opinion on women’s sport, how it is perceived or ideas on how to improve its standing then why not get involved in our topic of the week on the forum:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Fame Junkies

Recently I was sat at my local train station and I saw a billboard advert for a book by Ben Elton titled ‘Chart Throb’. The book I believe is a comical / satirical look at reality TV shows like Pop Idol and X-Factor with a fictionalised story based on the people who enter, are involved in or watch these programmes. I am yet to read a copy but after doing some research I have found out that this book has been out for some time but has recently been released in to paperback.

I may one day pick up a copy as it sounds like an interesting book but it wasn’t the story that got me interested in this billboard it was the tag line at the bottom of the billboard which caught my eye which read ‘Fame Junkies’. This got me thinking and the more I thought about it the more I agreed with it. We are now living in a society where it seems that everyone is a fame junkie and wants their five minutes of fame.

People now no longer care about being talented or being good at something they just care about being famous. Programmes like X-Factor, Pop Idol etc give these people the chance to be on TV as it seems that the worse you are at singing the more chance you have of actually getting on TV and in to millions of home across the country.

This attitude and culture over the last few years has now crossed over to the Internet as the internet continues to grow. People can now make videos & MySpace profiles and have millions of people viewing their pages. Unfortunately it’s not always the talented people showing their talents that get millions of views normally the ones that get viewed are the ones that depict people doing things which require no talent.

I’m all for people using websites like Youtube and MySpace to showcase their talents and actively promote it as it is a great way of getting your work to the masses but I just hate it when people who are ‘Fame Junkies’ get more exposure than people with real talents.

This world needs an attitude and a culture change we need to stop being a world of ‘Fame Junkies’ and be a world of ‘Talent Junkies’ who are always striving to be more talented and wanting to show off their talents. As it is only real talent that can guarantee you long-term fame if this is something you chase.

I think this very apt and needs to be said in the wake of the Big Brother final as now these ‘Fame Junkies’ who starred in inverted commas on this show now try and cash in on their fame but I can tell you now that they will be lucky if we remember their names in six months let alone a year.

The only way we are going to change the world and become a better, stronger youth generation is by all taking an active role in becoming ‘Talent Junkies’ as if you control your talent you control your life and the opportunities available to you. If you are a ‘Fame Junkie’ you can’t guarantee that you will find fame as you are relying on other people to give you an opportunity and your fame is in the hands of the public but if you are a ‘Talent Junkie’ you can control your future. We need to start getting addicted to talent and not fame, we need to have the desire to be more talented not more famous.

Let us know your thoughts on this matter by getting involved in our topic of the week on the forum:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"