THE BLOG
26/11/2013 07:07 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 05:59 GMT

Launching a Job-Site Startup at 18: Over 10,000 Jobs, 60,000 Hits and 50 Sleepless Nights

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What would you do if you weren't afraid?

I had two mates. Adam and Evangeline, Eve for short (no biblical pastiche intended). Adam worked hard at school, went to college, got good grades, and attended a well-known Russell Group University. Eve done the same - minus the ''attended a well-known Russell Group University'' part - instead, she became an apprentice at an investment bank.

Three years later, Adam had obtained an economics degree and Eve had acquired valuable monetary skills and practical experience. Both of them applied for one of those fancy 9 to 5 jobs in one of those fancy investment banks in one of those fancy areas in the City of London.

An employer of the investment bank narrowed down the job candidates to Adam and Eve [insert ''surprised face'' here]. Now which one would you hire? Think about it. Adam has the esteemed knowledge of finance. Once he has the practical training his monetary skills will probably surpass that of other employees within five years. But, look at Evangeline. She is far more likely to function as an independent, efficient and productive employee within a month, right?

Millions of employers typically face this dilemma on a far larger scale. The perfect employee for that employer would be the amalgamation of Adam's university knowledge and Eve's experience. Well, that's kind of what I'm offering; an accessible way for any young person to attain that combination of knowledge and experience.

Along with my friend Edouard Payne, I am the 18 year old co-founder of YouthDirect. A website based upon the idea that young people should have the option to craft their future as soon as possible. The website acts a way to combat the biggest issue facing young people: unemployment and isolation.

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.

Since the launch of the website in August, life has become, slightly hectic:

- We attract, roughly, 1,000 visitors to our website a day.

- We are in continued association with relevant organisations such as vInspired, Do-it and London Councils.

- We have an article with the Guardian.

- We have been featured on the ITV and BBC London news - watch a clip of the interview with ITV (we're the second video on the page, keep scrollin').

- We are also in the process of a developing an app, which we will be launching soon.

Edouard thought of the concept and he came to me. Together, we refined it, visualised it, designed it and we made it; all within 7 months. We want to advocate the power of the youth. Support us.

We were not afraid.

Rasheed Rollins

rasheed.rollins@youthdirect.org.uk