Graduates never went to the university of life if £42,000 isn't enough

Aldi was offering the substantial salary to join its graduate training programme, but students are apparently turning the jobs down

Donald Macinnes
Friday 22 January 2016 23:37 GMT

A news story this week reminded me of one of my favourite Woody Allen lines. In the 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters, Max von Sydow's torturously highbrow artist Frederick – having spent a rare evening actually watching the television – bemoans the on-screen armies of fundamentalist Christian preachers imploring their viewers to send in money to assure their salvation. He spits: "If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up."

Whereas my response to money matters would echo that of the carpenter from Galilee and concern the amount of folding green currently on offer to first-job graduates from some large corporations.

Before I proceed, in the interests of full disclosure, I should clarify: I have no degree. Instead, and in its place, I have a daft little qualification called a Scottish Higher National Diploma in communication studies. I got this at a college near Glasgow. It wasn't a salubrious facility. Mind you, now that I think back, it definitely had a bench in the bit of grass in front of the main entrance. So not that bad, then.

My wife likes to make fun of me for this, comparing my SHND to a City and Guilds in hammering nails. Nevertheless, it is a further educational qualification. And at the time of my "graduation", I was perfectly happy with it. Yes, I would have liked to have gone to university and got a proper degree, and been away from home and kissed lots of half-cut girls from far-flung places, like Cornwall. But I was a frightfully lazy child, so did not raise my game enough to raise my grades enough. And there it is.

Satisfied though I may have been with my little scroll, though, had I been locked in a box in the years following my receipt of that SHND, I would have received a very nasty shock on my release. Emerging in 2016 and discovering that university graduates – with experience of nothing more complex that rolling their eyes and watching Hollyoaks – were being offered £42,000 by Aldi to join its graduate training programme, I would definitely have struggled to stop being violently ill all over the floor. That's not to say I want to work for Aldi, but £42,000 is a very nice wage, irrespective if you are a mortar-boarded nobody just off the production line or a 25-year veteran of the jobs market.

But what was most amazing about this revelation of the generosity of large businesses was that graduates are apparently turning these jobs down. Newspapers, like this one, have used the word "picky" to describe them. I could think of one or two other words beginning with "p".

Now, my salary is a secret known only to myself, my wife and that carpenter from Galilee. But imagine you had schlepped around all your working life and were finally earning over 40 grand – and then found out that some fresh-faced no-mark thought that wasn't good enough for them? I'd say you would have every right to feel more than a little nauseous.

So I say, go ahead. If you feel like throwing up, be my guest.

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