According to a recent Futuretrack survey (7 November 2012), British graduates are facing an increasingly challenging jobs market, with 40% failing to get graduate-calibre posts more than two years after leaving education, which is around twice the proportion of their peers a decade earlier.
The survey showed that the highly-publicised graduate salary has also declined as much as 2% compared to the average national earnings over the past two years. This also follows on from a recent report from Graduate Fog who claimed that the real average graduate salary is £10,000 a year less than previous figures have suggested from £29,000 to a true average wage just under £20,000. As a result many young people and graduates are now working for low-paid and minimum wage positions.
We hear more and more reports of young people and graduates struggling to make ends meet in low paid jobs and all too often companies are taking advantage of the youth unemployment. Although made for television, the recently aired E4 reality sitcom 'The Work Experience' shows the bad conditions and the lengths many young people will endure in order to get that much needed experience. Although there has been a lot of negative press surrounding badly paid or unpaid internships, I would suggest young people consider reputable work experience as an option in order to improve their chances in the job market. Youngsters should take the time to carefully assess the work placements on offer, do their research and decide whether this will contribute to their career progression in any way.
In light of the current situation and as part of our commitment to youth empowerment and employability, Enpower C.I.C. is currently restructuring its current ambassador scheme. This ambassador scheme gives people who are in full-time study or already in employment but want to increase their future prospects, a chance to gain some much needed and hands on experience in a reputable and ethical way.
We inform all future candidates upfront about the work involved including the benefits they can reap from the scheme. The scheme encourages volunteers to represent and support the organisation's work. This involves participating in a range of organisational activities including marketing and PR, project management (events and campaigns) and public speaking. Whilst doing so ambassadors will receive training and mentoring in order to make sure they are gaining the most out of their role. The unique element about such a scheme is that the role is built around the individuals' expertise and career interests.
I'd urge unemployed or underpaid young people to ensure they ask their potential internship employer what will be involved and what skills and experience they can hope to develop in their internship in the same upfront and honest way to make sure the company in question is reputable and will not take advantage in this challenging economic time.
From my own personal experience the initiatives I run under Enpower C.I.C were responsible for me landing my first two full-time roles within healthcare advertising - which were specially created for me. Despite my qualifications (BSc in Biomedical Sciences from Royal Holloway and an MSc in Virology from Imperial College) one employer specified that my hire was based mainly on my work with Enpower C.I.C. With this in mind I have assisted young people looking to get into particularly creative roles by providing them with meaningful and impactful roles under Enpower C.I.C which can enhance their career development.
For more information about the Ambassador scheme or to hear from our very own ambassadors please email firstname.lastname@example.org.