There was an article written in the "Evening Standard" which I purchased for 50 pence because they were giving away rather nice umbrellas. Considering that I live in London and if you take a long walk you are sure to see some damaged; left for dead, umbrellas lying on a side walk. It looked like a good deal. The article, "Get real, Harriet, you've set out on the wrong road to social mobility," written by Anne McElvoy describes how people without connections may find it even harder to find a job after their higher education studies than those with social connections. This article appears to highlight a real element of pressure for schools and educators to integrate some practical work experience into the education system.
In my opinion, opportunity is not like a coloring book that educators have full control over the colors but rather can assist in its application, design and mandate programs that integrate theory with practicality. This middle ground between theory and application has been for a long period of time the work of entrepreneurs that invent, design and implement solutions. For example, universities like Brunel have developed a business center that works with local, regional and international organizations on research or practical design projects used in the market place. Entrepreneurship at this level is supported by providing students with an opportunity to present their career aims and a reward scheme for developing innovative solutions or potential new organizations. Students have to be very proactive and seek out the opportunity. In other words mobility has two sides: the student's ability that is highly dependent on motivation, and outlets for a practical working experience. These programs of opportunity can be placements, internships or implemented directly into the course curriculum. So who needs an umbrella when the chance for opportunity is about social mobility? I went to school to learn something which is different than going to school for a job.
Reference printed version, Wednesday 14, January 2009