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I will start off with a warning again which is in part one (paragraph one) as well. Young folk, if you are reading this, do not go into a job interview talking like this article.

In the last article published in May 2020 I finished off with my exam grades which were not great and my school not offering ICT A Levels which caused me to go elsewhere. Before I talk about education for a second, let’s change to a different topic - comparing the early noughties to 2021. Many things have changed, from crime, terrorism, transport, internet, parenting to fun. Then fun was cycling to a friend unsupervised and walking in a field with an open stream.

Kids then were less “cotton woollen” and parents gave kids more freedom. You went to a friend alone and set a return time, and used a pay phone to call home if you were going to be late. Another difference in cities was part time jobs from age 15. Then it was normal for kids to have a Saturday job and fellow kids were often desperate to find one. My first job was at a small independent furniture/antiques shop on the local high street.

I did the job for about a year and it gave me some spending money plus skills, such as: waking up early at the weekend, organisation, ordering, shopping for supplies, customer service, basic electronics and work ethic. After a year I switched to a fruit shop on the same high street and became a de-facto assistant manager, doing the following: opening up alone, stocking shelves, ordering, making customer orders, serving alone, invoicing, cashing up and locking up. What responsibility for a 16-18-year-old boy!

These days it seems “beneath” many kids to even think about a part time job during school/college years in cities. It builds a work ethic and experience on the CV. Let’s move back to education…

I did a BTEC at a local college, covering: hardware, software and networking for two years. The “commute” was less than that of secondary school. One advantage over school was even though it was full time we are only went in Mon, Thu + Fri which was nice. The college was very multi-cultural and we all got on. Even more than that, we hanged out at lunch and after college. This taught me to respect everyone, inquire more and travel.

History repeats itself. Lecturers said to me you are the best of two classes at practical and possibly the worst at theory (this has changed). I considered dropping out and doing Learn Direct courses, but my father pushed me along. College apart from the written homework was not too challenging. Why? I actually cared and still do to this day about technology. During college I built my first homemade PC and still do today. Year two of college comes and I switch topics + classes ditching Pascal (coding).

Mid-2004 comes and I finish in May or June with a double pass. What is next? University was barely on my mind though my parents would have assisted with it, if I wanted to pursue further education. Most friends went to university and some classmates did to. In those days less went to university and now it seems like a “law” you have to go to university even if it is not for the individual. In those days it was a maximum of £3,000/year, whereas now it is more like £9,000/year for any level of university.

The conclusion of part two? Everyone learns differently and forcing someone to take multiple GCSEs or A-Levels in the space of a few weeks forces people to cram knowledge into their heads not necessarily teach them a skill. For me exams mean little since my skills are more hands on not theoretical.

End of part two.