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Recently I counseled a family whose son, “Adam” had recently graduated from high school. He did a feasibility/ marketing business study in the winter and over the summer months earned $20,000. The folks asked if in my opinion: he had to go on to post secondary education to be successful?

You might remember Matthew Barrett the former Chairman of the Bank of Montreal/Barclays. He told a reporter that: “he had made a big mistake quitting school at sixteen to become a bank teller.” The reporter agreed and Matthew replied that: “he should have quit at the age fifteen: he wasted a whole year.”

Peter Mansbridge has anchored the Canadian Broadcast Television nightly National Report since 1975. In 2008 he was given an Honorary Degree of Laws by the University of Western Ontario in recognition of his career in broadcasting. I wonder if the faculty of Graduate Studies knew that he dropped out of high school to spend two years with the Canadian Forces (Navy) without receiving his high school diploma?

We all know that Bill Gates the former Chairman of Microsoft is the world’s richest man worth $50 billion dollars. I bet you think that he must have graduated from a prestigious Ivy league university?. Wrong. Bill did go to Harvard but dropped out in his second year of university. He was way too busy with DOS to stay in school.

Imagine how his folks must have felt that their son was not going to be a Harvard graduate? What do you tell the neighbors/relatives?

Bill spent one-third of his life as chairman of Microsoft. He may be the most influential man of the twentieth first century. He classifies himself as: “just an ordinary guy who goes to work everyday”.

Michael Dell dropped out of the University of Texas at the age of nineteen. Four years later Dell Computer sales topped $70,000,000.

London’s own Sam Katz who passed away in 2001 was the “Mayor of Cherry Hill” He had to quit school in grade six. He emigrated to Canada when he was thirty to work as a laborer . Sam never ever learned to read or write well in English. He transformed a garbage dump/swamp on Oxford Street into the Cherry Hill Mall along with 2,300 apartment units.

Sam was a person of integrity who valued his fellow man. His success was due to his very strong work ethic and good common sense.

I am sure that there are thousand of like minded successful people that do not have post secondary accreditation. You don’t have to be a “perennial student” waiting to receive your old age pension at the same time graduating with your doctorate to be successful and happy.

I found it interesting that The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that Canada had a very high unemployment rate for PhD grads in Natural Sciences and Engineering.

Sure hard to get paid employment in the “glamour industries: media, politics, advertizing, broadcasting, journalism, fashion, photography after spending four or five years in post secondary schools.

I can hear the outrage of university professors with tenure who will admonish me that: “you don’t go to school to get a job.” “You go for an education.” Reminds of Marie Antoinette who when she was told the people had no bread questioned: “Why they don’t eat cake?”

Leanne Perrault, Manager of Corporate Communications kindly sent along an email indicating which of Fanshawe’s programs address anticipated skills shortages and career demand in the future. “On the list some of our highest-placing programs that pay well are: “Aneaesthesia Assistant, Medical Radiation Technology Architectural Technology, Civil Engineering, Computer Programing/Systems Technology, Chefs & Culinary Management, Food & Nutrition Management, Personal Support Worker. Check out the web site: www,fanshawec.ca/graduate-employment.

Colleges Ontario Key Performance Indicators showed that Fanshawe College stats in 2009-10 showed that 84.8% of the graduates who completed on average two years at the college were working directly related to their education six months after leaving the school.

As a counsellor I admit that a college/university education helps. But, if one is talented/hard working they can sure shorten their time spent in school.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com