It is clear from the press that the outlook remains bleak for our young people. There are around one million 16 to 24 year-olds not in education, training or employment and the labour market is becoming crowded with an excess of university graduates that aren't being offered work for which they are qualified.
YouthDirect allows a young person to find any job opportunity, work experience, apprenticeship, internship or training opportunity in any field that interests them by simply submitting their post-code. With the website's simple map feature, any young person can find the closest opportunity to them and apply for it through us.
This week I was privileged to attend the launch of 'Step Up to Serve', a new cross-party and cross-sector national initiative to increase the number of young people taking part in social action across the UK... This is a vital campaign as the truth is we are currently failing to maximise the energy, talent and potential of millions of young people.
Having taken part in Dragon's Den this series and working closely with UK Trade and Investment, I'm now even more aware of the importance of funding and supporting the great ideas of future business leaders. What's particularly close to my heart is nurturing and growing the ideas of young people domestically and into international markets.
This Christmas, I won't be eating turkey with my family, unwrapping presents and watching panto. I'll be eating dehydrated power food, wrestling with an oar, and watching nothing but the endless waves of the Atlantic ocean.
It's pretty common at university to be bombarded with images of smiling friends helping poor and clearly suffering orphans somewhere in Africa for a week, then going on safari, 'teach and get a tan'. The problem arises from that fact that all too often it is only the corporations organising the opportunities who benefit from volunteer tourism.
Where are we now, and where are we going? Twenty or fifteen years ago we could rely on mainstream institutions to answer these questions for us. Westminster, Fleet Street, Big Business - they told us what the good life really meant, and how to live it. Yet fast forward to 2013 and these are no longer the bedrocks of society; their legitimacy sapping in the wake of perpetual scandals, their decline accelerated by the worst economic crash in a century.
Through my writing and social media, I try and encourage girls to pursue the things they're interested in, whether it's a hobby they would like to make into a career - like writing - or whether it's an academic subject they want to study further, even if it's a STEM subject that's typically a male-dominated area. Girls need good role models and I am determined to be one of them.
Here are my suggestions on what to do with the next year. Take a step back and really think about what you want from the next 40 years of work. It's a long time to be doing anything, so don't rush it. Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you. Learn everything you can.
Congratulations you have made it into your final year at university. If it hasn't already, the dread will kick in and you will realise that it's all coming to an end... You shouldn't panic though, you've got a year left and it will be over before you know it, it is worth facing the challenge head on.
I've been in the cookery writing business for nine years now. At the age of 13 I was busy formulating a first book proposal that was designed to inspire kids and young people to get into the kitchen to cook for themselves. I loved doing it myself and I saw there was a huge gap in the market.