Are we sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

 After the radio show I got some press coverage with a local newspaper about the setup of my new business and the New Enterprise Allowance I'm receiving.  I also, shortly after the show, had my first conference call with my mentor, Rosemary Parr which was great, she really put me at ease and explained her very inspirational story of how she got where she is today. She also gave me some invaluable advice about setting up and finding free hosting for my first website and a link to, which is a premier tool for business start ups. After the conference call with Rosemary it gave me the drive to finally tackle the problem of setting up a website. It was great using the free templates online and really easy to do, I don't know why I was worrying about it. I'm pretty pleased with the results for my first attempt.  It's such a learning curve.

 The following week I was asked to go down to London to meet up with Rosemary face to faTwo women stand on a balconyce for the Drive. I was quite nervous about meeting Rosemary face to face, although we had spoken on the phone face to face impressions are very different.  I think the fact that Rosemary is such a successful business woman un-nerved me a little but when I finally met her she was lovely, so down to earth and put me at ease immediately.  She had some fantastic marketing strategies including making some flyers and taking my business cards to local nurseries, playgroups and playgrounds to try and get myself as noticed as possible.  We also had a look at my business plan and looked at making some improvements.  Rosemary has been an invaluable source I'm so pleased that I got to meet her through doing this show.  She also plans to be both a mentor and coach through this process, which I am really looking forward too, she plans to try and get me my first mural by the end of March. Fingers crossed!

While I was in London meeting Rosemary I was also asked to meet and put some questions to David Miliband, I jumped at the chance even though it was a little daunting.  He launched a new 6 point plan to get Britain’s 'Lost Generation' of young people back into work.  He mainly wants to look at those who have been unemployed for longer than 12months and aims to provide a scheme whereby they are given a role within a company on a part-time basis and are given a part-time wage for 6 months.  This will be approximately the same amount per week as the current Job Seekers Allowance but it will provide them with much needed experience which can be used on CV's and help them better their job prospects.

I think that this is a fabulous idea in theory, there are so many young people who will gain much needed experience within the workplace and its invaluable to be able to put something like that on a CV.  I do think they will come upon some stumbling blocks, I don't think that this could be blanketed across all 18 - 24 yr olds because everyone's personal circumstances are different for example how willing would an employer be to asked on someone who has a previous criminal record for say theft?  I think if each person who has been unemployed for over twelve months is looked at on an individual basis and placed in a position accordingly I think it really could be a workable and helpful scheme, far better then just receiving money once a fortnight, the experience alone would be a valuable asset to any CV.  People can help themselves when it comes to this scheme I think that it will push them to work harder to maybe be kept on at the end of the 6 months period of paid work experience.  I just hope it wouldn't be abused by employers who will only employ for 6 months and then recruit someone else who has been long term unemployed for a further 6 months and will therefore never have to foot a wage bill because the 6 month wage will be paid for through Government funds, it could be open to abuse.

 I really enjoyed meeting David Miliband he was engaging, he seems to have a really good grip on the unemployment situation. I think it’s a shame that the study is focusing on those in the 18-24 yr age bracket I believe that people unemployed for longer than 12 months of any age group would be more than happy to take on a part-time role to try and help them out of the situation they are in.

Throughout the day I discussed with both Rosemary Parr and David Miliband the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme and the main point that came up was, although this allowance is working for me I don't  think on £65 a week you can feasibly set up a business.  Although I already have the materials and tools necessary for my business to run, I think if you were having to buy stock or other supplies, £65 per week just wouldn't be adequate.  I think that in theory, it is a good scheme but I don' think that you are A) given enough per week to set up a working business model B) You aren't given enough time before the allowance drops to £35 per week. My allowance is about to drop and I still haven't had my first commission and its worrying. In the week since getting back from London I have been to see a community centre mural.  They originally had a different artist to do it but, because of how much it had cost they could only get half of the mural done and have since had their funding cut.  I have gone and priced up how much it would cost for materials alone and have offered my time for free to help them finish the mural, fingers crossed we are going to be finishing it in the Easter holidays. Let’s see how this next month goes................. Danielle Devlin, 28, from County Durham - starting her own business on the New Enterprise Allowance scheme.

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