It is no secret that today's job market is slow, competitive and challenging and this is a situation that many school-leavers, students and graduates know all too well. Young in people in general are faced with a job climate in which not only are fewer jobs available, but the jobs that are available require experience - an impossible situation that requires having a job in the first place in order to gain the required experience. Even those hiring for Saturday jobs require experience these days.

Be creative

There are opportunities out there, but in order to get a job many students and graduates are having to be extremely creative in order to find work, with an example being the story of Adam Pacitti, who spent his last £500 on a billboard to ask employers for a job. Others have chosen to give themselves a job.
This is the case with Lauren Moulsley, a 19-year-old Bournemouth University student who bought an Avon franchise on her 18th birthday and now uses the extra £50-100 per month she earns from selling Avon products (for 12 hours every three weeks) to fellow students to help her cover living expenses. This entrepreneurship has not only solved the problem of a tight job market for Lauren, but it also given her what she describes as 'invaluable marketing and accounting skills'. This will give her the skills she needs when attempting to find a job in Events Management (the subject she is studying) after she graduates.

The advantages and disadvantages

There is a level of freedom to being self-employed that you won't get from working for someone else and this means that you will be able to work around your university timetable more easily. Be prepared to have to put in more hours than you might through a 'regular' job with a regular wage, however.
As previously stated, starting your own business can give you the experience that you need to get a job, providing a 'leg-up' over much of the competition.
That said, entrepreneurship can be both time-consuming and stressful - it's good to be optimistic at the very outset of a venture, but realism and an acceptance that things will inevitably go wrong is also a prerequisite.
However a great deal of support for young people looking to get started in business exists. Publicly funded schemes include The Princes Trust and the National Enterprise Network (England only) whilst a number of privately run support networks are offered by some of the UK's biggest brands including Shell, Endsleighand Sage.
Becoming an entrepreneur is a great way of harnessing your skills, and developing new skills you never knew you had such as: a good telephone manner, a good sales ability and accountancy skills. It's well worth it, even if you just have your own business whilst at university.