3.3 Jobs for the Graduates

Too often, whenever economic conditions take a downward turn, there is a resultant increase in unemployment and retrenchments at all levels, but particularly at the ends of the employment spectrum, namely the young - those coming out of school, and the not so young - those over 50 years or so, who find it almost impossible to obtain another job after losing their current one.

Unemployment affects the migrant to a far greater extent than the average population. It is they who are most at risk, and who are the first to be sacked.

Amidst the gloom one glimmer of light. According to market analysts from the Victorian Department of Labour, job prospects for recent graduates are relatively bright. Only three per cent of those who have a degree are out of work compared to more than eight per cent in the general Australian population.

This emphasises the crucial need for a tertiary education in the world that we live in. No longer is it sufficient to say that a few years of schooling are all that is required. Tertiary education is becoming a must, if only to keep up with the rat race. Maltese [in Australia] in particular have never given tertiary education much credence, and preferred a practical, hands-on type of job. While these are no doubt in demand, it is essential to emphasise that our children, and this includes girls to at least the same extent as boys, must be encouraged to stay on at school and go on to a tertiary education if they are to participate in a worthwhile occupation in the future. According to Ms Beatrice Derody and Mr Phillip McCalman, writing in the Age, 90,000 new jobs are expected to be created in Victoria for professionals over the next 10 years. Enrolments in universities and advanced education colleges have reached record levels. More than 350,000 new university and College qualifications are likely to be awarded.

As a Maltese community our choices are clear: we either participate in this rush for higher education, or we will be left behind to collect the odd and menial jobs which no one else wants to do. Our obligations as parents are equally clear: we have to ensure that our children get the best that this country can offer. We cannot be complacent and ignore what is going on in our schools. And we cannot find out unless we take an active interest and participate in school activities, including school councils. For too long we have shrugged our shoulders and sloughed off all responsibility for the education of our children, leaving it to others, with disastrous results.

Participate or perish is the message.

[From: Il-Maltija 1990]

Source: Maurice N.Cauchi - The Maltese Migrant Experience, Malta 1999

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