Graduates: Your University Could be Charging for Your References

References Charges

For over twenty years Burton, Bolton & Rose has had the pleasure of placing thousands of job seekers into employment in the local area and a large percentage of those placements have been graduates. Recently we wrote a letter to the Department of Work and Pensions stating our concern of the growing trend for Universities charging employers and Agencies for references.

Universities such as Middlesex, Goldsmith and De Montfort charge upwards of £10 per reference and as we ensure each candidate is vetted before a Company employs them, either BBR, our client or the student are having to foot the bill. Raise your hands if you know who’s getting that pleasure!

As if you weren’t paying enough to go to University, now you are required to purchase the right to an official confirmation of your attendance and attitude, despite it being a legal obligation and right for an employer to obtain such documentation – Can you believe it? ‘Let’s charge up to £9,000 a year for your independent learning at our brand new fancy buildings and then let’s add an extra tenner on top of that when a Company wants to hire you, just to remind you who helped you get there!’

Contrary to the occasional belief, our Agency receives NO commission for signing candidates to our books. We are not government funded and therefore we only register individuals that we are confident we can assist. It is with this policy that we fear we will have to tell graduates that we cannot help them with their search for work anymore – which is ironic really, considering our future economy lies in the hands of the people studying at these establishments.

Is it legal to charge to obtain a reference that, let’s be honest, is as basic as the free newspaper you get through your letter box? Does a University have the right to withhold information that even the student is not entitled to unless they pay a fee? The ENTIRE objective of University is to allow individuals the opportunity to learn and hone their skills so they are more equipped to pursue the career they want and, in the current job market is this requirement not hindering the chances of employment for our youth while driving unemployment levels skyward for young people across the country?

As a graduate herself, BBR’s blogger (Hi there!) feels strongly against the blatant exploitation of students in this small yet significant manner. It certainly seems as though our government and educational establishments would rather make it as difficult as possible for our future generation to make anything of themselves. It’s sad that students receive such repulsive reputations for behaviour abroad and during recent protests and yet where is the support to encourage and nurture such impressionable minds? We have to ask whether it is even ethical to charge for references.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Has this affected you in any way?

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