Sunday, September 4, 2011

I’m a Graduate.... Get me out of here!!

“The light of starry dreams can only be seen once we escape the blinding cities of disbelief.”

So said Shawn Purvis – and I too ache to see the light of starry dreams yet remain in a city which is smothered in disbelief! Dublin- A far cry from the graduate haven it once was!

In the early noughties, Dublin offered graduates a plethora of opportunities; multinationals, international and national banks enriched graduate development and offered a wealth of prospects. What a turnaround. A couple of years later, graduates are presented with few such opportunities, despite having an education on par with, if not superior to, past graduates. The bleak realism facing recent graduates and future graduates is that in the past two years unemployment has almost trebled. Even in the midst of the recession, in March 2008, the Central Statistics Office revealed that a mere 25,400 graduates were unemployed– 2 years later, March 2010, the number of graduates who remain unemployed soared to 68,600. Most definitely figures to signal alarm bells with any government that cares for the future of their country – but not the Irish government, they appear content to let the educational background and skill-set nurtured in our college years go to waste! Another salient fact reveals that Irish Graduate unemployment has risen 22 times faster than the Eurozone average – another pressing issue for the Government to tackle... maybe that will be on the agenda after they decipher who will jet off, on all-expenses-paid trips, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2011, courtesy of the tax payer – deemed a trip to keep the credibility of the Irish intact – instead all departmental ministers could engage in a drunken interview to grab 457 headlines across the globe like our beloved Taoiseach did–juxtaposing a budgetary cut, whilst reinforcing the national ethos of drink, that will now forever cloud Irish politics!

I started my college experience in 2005 when all still appeared well in our economy; the Celtic Tiger roared on; and ‘credit crunch’, ‘economic crisis’, ‘subprime mortgage crisis’, ‘property bubble’ and ‘recession’ were yet to enter the dictionary of my generation! Despite starting my undergrad when times were relatively good, on passing my finals, the economic climate had undoubtedly changed, so continuing my education seemed like the optimal decision. Armed with an undergrad in Commerce, a Masters in Finance I decided to make my debut into the graduate field, securing a place on a one time hailed ‘prestigious’ graduate programme – and in my naive view, the ticket to shape the industry I wished to specialise in, Finance. Surely a recent graduate with creative ideas on how to piece this economy back together would be welcomed? Not so! Gone were the glamorous roles once offered by graduate programmes, instead an environment in which all graduates firmly took a back seat and watched from the sidelines encircled us, as those who created this mess attempted to piece the broken banking sector back together!

It wasn’t the current graduates who so corruptly demolished the banking sector- so why punish us? We are merely seeking a graduate opportunity, a job, an opportunity to make a difference, an opportunity to right the wrongs of the pot-bellied bankers who spent their evenings lining the pockets of publicans and restaurateurs when the economy ‘flourished’.

Instead we are subjected to daily headlines which uncover the underhandedness and the heinous crimes of bankers, whilst recent graduates, who are the future of the country, remain trapped in jobs which do not require the utilisation of the educational skill-set gained during their college years, and that merely accounts for the lucky few graduates with jobs, whilst others form a line at the local dole office!

Graduates are credited for their ambitions, drive and determination – yet we remain in an environment in which all ambition is stifled by a government which fails to offer us any reasonable solution. I can without a doubt say that the graduates of today have a wealth of integrity compared to those who so cunningly wronged us in the first place.
So who can a graduate turn to during such a severe recession?
Unlike Martin Luther King, who had ‘a dream’ and Obama, who heralded ‘Yes we can’ the rhetoric of the Irish Government and the overpaid, bonus clad bankers pales in comparison to these prominent figures, their attempts are instead uninspiring and pitiful! No words can offer solace or inspiration, nor are they laden with any potency – the Irish government has failed us again! The ability of the graduate has been overlooked. It is apparent that the Government do not believe that we can aid the economic recovery by drawing on our expertise. Likewise – as a graduate, I do not believe in the government and its ability to solely safe our country without graduate input.

Yes, I have dreams – and yes, they may me starry eyed dreams, but they are dreams and ambitions which I want to realise. I, as a graduate, want an input into remoulding the banking sector and Irish politics to ensure neither are riddled with corruptness in the future – but alas, this is clearly not the time, nor do they want a graduate’s contribution! Quite frankly – I am fed up! It saddens me greatly, that as a graduate, I can’t realise the occupation I’ve longed to pursue in the country I’ve been educated, my native land.

Dublin, for me, is no longer the place to realise my starry dreams; it is now time to look elsewhere and escape the ‘blinding city of disbelief’....I’m a graduate... get me out of here!

The Forgotten Irish Graduate, November 2010