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Convocation at the University of Western Ontario this year takes place June 12-20th. These are the days when young men and women are capped and gowned with a degree in hand looking forward to a rewarding future. For many in debt the prospects for a meaningful future is bleak.

The cost of attending university is expensive with student tuition fees of $6,564. Your residence bill plus a meal plan along with textbooks is $10,000 per year. When you do the math the cost of attending university comes to approximately $20,000. A four year undergraduate program quickly adds up to $80,000.

Many students who relied on student loans are faced with large debts after they graduate from university. Payments including the principle and interest commence six months after leaving school. Hard to balance your cheque book when you can not find first time meaningful employment.
The parents and the graduates make their way home from the celebration with the question: "where do we go from here?"
Recently the CBS "60 Minutes" featured a program with Peter Thiel who is one of the wealthiest, best- educated American entrepreneurs; "who isn’t convinced that college is worth the cost." Less then half of the US college grads are in full time employment."

My years in private practice I have found that too many Canadian university grads are frustrated/angry that their undergraduate degrees can not help them find employment. Their high school teachers and parents have extolled the virtue of attending university to get a career with the promise that prestigious position and wealth will surely follow after graduating from university. Wrong.

If a student is most fortunate they will have had the opportunity to learn if they have had good lecturers. Hard to accomplish a dialogue with your professor in mega size classes of a thousand or more students in an auditorium.

The social aspect of attending university to interact with other students at Saugeen Hall is enjoyable and can make attending lectures more palatable.

Your tenured professors will tell you that: "you do not go to university to acquire a career, you go for an education." The universities offer excellent undergraduate degree programs in Nursing, Business, Engineering that can lead directly to career opportunities.

A BA in Poli Science, History, English, Geography doesn’t bode well for direct entry career positions. What can you do you do with your undergraduate degree? You can sell shoes or apply to a Community College for one year to upgrade your qualifications for employment.

The largest feeder school for Fanshawe College is the University of Western Ontario. Fanshawe’s President Howard Rundle is justifiably very proud that the graduates from his community based college have an 85% success rate of employment six months after graduation. The University should take a moment to view the Graduate Certificates Programs www.fanshawec.ca/gradsstudies web site.

The skilled trades with apprenticeship training in Electrical, Painting, Hairdressing, Culinary, Welding, Plumbing, Carpentry offer up rewarding careers With an ageing population of skilled trades people there is a shortage of skilled people in Canada There are trades people who enjoy their work with many earning six figure incomes.

Reminds me of the true story of my brother, Jack, who was a lawyer. His water pipe broke in his basement on New Years Eve, He called Vic, his plumber. to take care of the problem. Vic reluctantly made his way over to the basement. He fixed the pipe in one hour and tendered his bill for $600. Jack bitterly complained that he was a lawyer and did not charge such outrageous numbers. Vic laughed that when he was a lawyer his billable hour rates were a lot less.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com