This week saw the BBC's Up For Hire show on BBC Three and on their facebook page, directly trying to tackle the issue of youth unemployment. Recent figures have shown that youth unemployment has reached a 17 year high, with the total number of people out of work rising 2.57 million in the three months to August. The unemployment figure for the under 25's also hit a record high of 991,000 which highlights a significant problem in the UK. This post looks into some of the issues the BBC initiative covered.

'Doing a degree is a waste of time'

The week long campaign offered careers advice from many top companies such as Michael Page, experts from top executives and celebrities. There were many issues covered with significant debate, including whether completing a degree is a waste of time. Many companies highlighted the fact that they have strict entry requirements to their schemes, so qualifications are needed but of course does every graduate find their degrees useful in terms of the type of jobs they apply for? In a study conducted last year by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, it found that 6 out of 10 graduates were working in a field or profession not related to their degree. Interestingly, a quarter of those polled stated that their degree had not equipped them with the right skills for the workplace which suggests that going to university was a waste of time. However, it is important to note that some professions really do need certain qualifications in order to prepare them for industry - doctors and lawyers for are a good example. A while ago, I blogged about the advantages of university education even with the higher tuition fees, one being the experience and life skills you gain in general from the three or so years at university and other non academic experiences you gain, something else to consider there.

Jobs through networking and contacts

Another hot topic that came up was the use of networking and 'inside' contacts to get jobs. Again, this is a topic I blogged about previously in which I highlighted the importance of managing your online presence. For instance, if you choose to go to university speaker events as an undergraduate or a graduate (which is useful to do!) then make sure you are actively networking. Joining specific university societies are also useful for your skills development and network too - Societies such as SIFE and AIESEC offer a vast amount of opportunities. You can then add the people you meet to your network on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and develop a relationship over time. The emphasis is the developing of a relationship rather than just asking 'have you got a job?' of which, may become useful for the future. These maybe the contacts you obtain in the 'inside' of companies and as such will know your abilities and skills better from the time you have actively been connected - therefore they are more likely to tell you about certain job openings should they become available.

Entrepreneurship

The programme also talked about entrepreneurship - setting up your own business if you cannot find work. James Caan shed some light saying that not every individual has the ability to do this although somewhat the opposite of what others were saying. Overall, you need that passion, that energy and motivation to succeed in a graduate job as well as setting up your own business, it's just channelling your thoughts to create an idea that makes business sense that is the tricky part and the difference between being an employee and an employer. However, it is great to hear about the success stories of some of the UK's young entrepreneurs!

To conclude, the initiative covered many issues that many young people are faced with when it comes to jobs - both graduates and non graduates. Although the programme has given many the chance to ask industry related questions to the experts and to get some clear career advice, the rest is up to you. You need to make sure that you use this, create a job search strategy and get out there and apply for jobs - persistence and determination are key - Good luck!