What makes me smile? This does: youth unemployment is down. In fact it's down a lot... Without doubt the figures say we're going in the right direction, but I've got some bits of paper in front of me now which tell me there's a long, long way to go yet. My charity has just carried out some research on young people who've been labelled as 'NEETs'. It's a horrible term I know - and in case you didn't know, it means Not in Employment, Education or Training - but they're exactly the type of people we work with, and we need to understand how they're thinking in 2014 in order to help them.
With GCSE and A-Level results fresh in the hands of thousands of young people in the UK this week, it's important for students and their parents to be aware of the wide spectrum of available options. University will rightly continue to be a place for generations to continue their education, but it's naive to think of it as a 'one stop shop' for getting onto the career ladder.
There is support for international students among the general public who both recognise the benefits they bring and believe we should make use of their skills and talent... 'International students should be allowed to stay and work in Britain after graduating from British universities, using their skills for the benefit of our economy, for at least a period of time'.
The days were long, tedious and rather tiring and I quickly learnt that everything I had heard about being a fashion intern was frighteningly true. The lows are lower than low, but the highs are pretty darn great... "If I can do this and still love this industry, than this is the industry for me."
I am earning money already and learning how to manage my finances. Whereas if I had gone to University, I would have around £66k debt to pay! To make matters worse, Computer Science graduates are earning less every year, they are earning on average £2,261 less today than in 2007. Instead, I will have earned over £66k creating a difference of over £132k!
Searching for a job is dull, difficult and downright depressing. It's frustrating to spend hours honing an application only to have nothing but radio silence in return, so when that much prayed-for email does come saying thanks for applying and hey, you don't seem so bad, we'd love to meet you, it pays to make sure you're not going to let down a red hot application with a damp squib of an interview.
Developing your employability skills is important if you want to stand out to employers and be successful when you apply for jobs. Whether you are in year 10 or year 13 there are several ways in which you can develop your employability skills whilst you're at school.
Don't be fooled into thinking unpaid internships are an essential stop on the route to graduate employment - there are alternative ways to add to your CV and land a great graduate job without spending months on end in unpaid labour!
Getting good grades can of course open the door to a promising future, but more employers are stressing the importance of soft skills... we need to address the skills shortage and ensure that young people are better prepared for the world of work in order to bolster this economic growth.
People were friendly and joked around, no one snapped at colleagues or interns, everyone said 'please' and 'thank you'. I was given articles to write and each of them was published on the website, with my byline. The online editor would take time to go through each article with me, explaining what I did right and what I could improve on, as well as teaching me how to use the CMS, Google Analytics etc.
Let's be fair, it is about the last time it is officially acceptable to sponge off your parents for a week jaunt to sunnier climes without having to put your hand in your own pocket. Enjoy it, spend some quality time with your family that you've not had since the odd week at Christmas or since you left for uni.