I'm 32 years old and run my own business www.schoolspeakers.co.uk. Many will remember me battling it out with Lord Sugar in the 2008 series of the BBC1 hit TV show The Apprentice...

 I am social entrepreneur and work across many projects enabling, and empowering, young people in enterprise. Claire meets Karen I jumped at the chance to be involved in this project and offer my support as a mentor. Every single one of us has needed help at some time and I really do feel for young people in today’s challenging job market. Imagine the difference which would be made if every employer stepped up and offered help to students, we'd see a serious revolution!

I graduated 12 years ago and the jobs market was a very different place to what it is today. There was an unspoken agreement that if you worked hard, gained good A Level grades, studied at a solid university and left with a degree you were almost guaranteed a decent graduate job. Karen did exactly this so kept her end of the bargain, whereas now, there are no opportunities. Personally, I resonate with Karen as I was in the same position, leaving university with a degree, lots of enthusiasm and sadly our stories to date have very different endings. I applied for 83 graduate jobs and gained a place on L'Oreal's Graduate Scheme. Karen has applied for countless jobs, over 100, and still yet no job offer.

There is simply a lack of jobs in this very difficult market. All of a sudden graduates have to manage their expectations, take jobs which they're over qualified for, take lower salaries and many are reduced to working for free in exchange for experience. Despite knocks to their confidence graduates have to remain persistence in their job hunting and continue being proactive with good grace and tenacity. You literally cannot afford to give up. Sadly many young people leave education without the skills, which are required for the workplace; such as using your initiative, teamwork, leadership, working under pressure, flexible and good communicators (being able to have a conversation as well as text and tweet!).  Experience is key to any CV so I always urge young people to actively secure any opportunities to develop their employability skills. I’ve developed an action plan for Karen to get going:

  •  Re-vamped her CV and Linkedin profile to reflect her true experience and skills, beforehand she was underselling herself!
  • Join a networking group to grow her contacts, you never know where an initial conversation may lead – a job would be wonderful.
  • Review her performance with a mock job interview arranged with ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ with constructive feedback so we can improve her chances in face to face opportunities
  • Job interview in April arranged, I saw the advert and she applied – bingo!

With any long term situation it’s sometimes easy to become disheartened, stagnant and lose confidence so I hope my energy, help and positivist is helping Karen approach her job hunting with renewed vigour. Claire Young, Motivational Speaker & Coach and Social Enterprise Champion www.claireyoung.co.uk

This is a guest post from Claire Young who took part in the 'NOISE Young & Jobless' radio documentary series, broadcast over 4 months on BBC 5Live in 2012. The programme followed four unemployed young people as they looked for work, hooking them up with mentors and advice on their journey. For more information about this project, the participants and mentors --See Here--