It wasn't until I was 21 that I was able to escape the trappings of living in a small town...

Craig I was born and raised in the small town of Wigan.It was November 2004 when I waved goodbye to my family at the airport with my backpack, passport and a ticket to Thailand. That day my life changed completely. I left school with only two GCSEs (art & drama) and very low self-esteem. I was undiagnosed with ADHD, Dyslexia and dyspraxia. My teachers branded me as a clown and trouble-maker that would never achieve anything in life yet there I was backpacking around Thailand on my own. It was one of the hardest, scariest and happiest times of my life so far. I learnt that anything is possible in life.

Within two weeks of returning to the UK I had moved to Carlisle and got myself onto an art and design course at Cumbria institute of the arts. This enabled me to study communication design at University and I graduated with a 2:1 full of hope. Almost two years on and I’m still not working in the creative industry. I was working as a receptionist but lost my job and I’ve now been unemployed for 6 months. My life now consists of daily job searching and CV tailoring. It’s hard searching for a job when you don’t actually know what you want.

My dream is to own my own design company working within all different kinds of areas, from having a t-shirt line to having my own magazine. I truly believe that design can alter people’s moods and perceptions. This is a responsibility that all designers should give more consideration in my opinion. I’ve pretty much lost most of my confidence in my creative abilities so I apply for all jobs these days, from cleaning, customer services to creative positions. I can’t afford to be picky like I was when I first graduated. All of my spare time goes on keeping myself creative because it’s the only thing that keeps me sane. I enter competitions to keep myself busy that’s how I got involved with NOISEfestival.com. 'The Art of Protest' was the brief. I entered with an A2 screen-printed poster titled 'England’s glory'. I was lucky enough to be chosen to exhibit the poster at 'the art of protest exhibition in Manchester. Craig Atherton, 29, from Wigan - Graduate, unemployed, currently on Job Seekers Allowance

This is a guest post from Craig 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--