Thursday, 8 February 2018

Crypto Student Debt

Advanced apprenticeships seem to be taking over from standard degrees for many areas, such as engineering - you get a paid job and spend one day a week at university, ending up with a degree, a job and no debt. Sounds a sensible alternative to a straight degree for those degrees that are in demand in industry. It's what I did throughout my seagoing career - I did 2nd Mates, Mates and Master Mariner qualifications while on the job over a 12 year period - all my study fees were paid by my employer and I was paid a decent wage.

The £50k debt saddling university graduates is a serious concern, especially when you consider a young couple looking to set up house after leaving university will have a combined debt of £100k - nearly half of a mortgage these days - and they have to pay that back with interest and try to buy a house or rent a flat. It's simply not feasible.

After a term and a half at university, No.1 Son is considering swapping out from Maths and Economics to a Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering and is scurrying around applying to numerous engineering firms in the area, and round here we have quite a few.

Saw this cartoon lampooning crypto-currencies (click to expand), but the fiver in your wallet only buys stuff because a number of people agree to use it as a medium of exchange. Intrinsically it's worth nothing - it's not backed up by anything more concrete than trust and confidence in the economy, which is why people are so wary of talking down a country's economy. It's basically a confidence trick - as is a crypto-currency. A crypto-currency just needs enough people to believe in it for it to work for them - a bit like God. 

I suggested to No.1 Son that he and a few mates develop a student crypto-currency (any suggestions for a name - the Academia, perhaps?) and use it to pay their tuition fees with the cooperation of their university. Early adopters, and that includes universities, will benefit as the number of users swells and it becomes more valuable. It might even be worth a Chancellor's salary in a few years time, until it crashes...

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