Henry Carruthers who is part of the Norwich For Jobs campaigns Young Persons Panel.

Picture: James Bass

Young persons panel will help spread the word of the Norwich for Jobs campaign

Friday, January 25, 2013
10.59 AM

Helping to spread the word of the Norwich For Jobs campaign is a young persons panel who know exactly how hard it can be to find a job.

Posy Cuthbertson who has been searching for a job for six months. She is a member of the young persons panel for the Norwich for Jobs campaign. Photo: Steve AdamsPosy Cuthbertson who has been searching for a job for six months. She is a member of the young persons panel for the Norwich for Jobs campaign. Photo: Steve Adams

When he graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in history in 2011, 22-year-old Henry Carruthers did not expect it to be so difficult to find a job.

But after 18 months applying for up to 20 jobs a week in a range of fields, he is still looking to kickstart his career.

He is currently on a fixed term contract working for Job Centre Plus in Lowestoft and has previously worked at a pantomime hire warehouse lifting storage scenery into trailers.

The former Bungay High School pupil said he was keeping his options open – applying for a range of jobs from admin roles to low-level graduate posts – but he was having no luck. “The lack of experience is a big factor,” he said. “Having experience has implicit benefits in terms of how confident you are and how well you can express your competencies.”

Henry said he could understand why some employers might be reluctant to take on a young person: “If an employer doesn’t know the candidate is a safe bet, they’re going to be less inclined to take them on.”

But he said young workers could bring a lot to a workplace. He said: “Young people have an awful lot to offer. The fact that work is hard to get does spur them on to work harder. They can bring an alternative perspective to how improvements could be made and when people are young you can push their development down a certain route that works for you.”

Art History graduate Posy Cuthbertson has been searching for full-time work for the past six months without success.

The 21-year-old dreams of becoming an editor and is currently working part time for a company which designs websites for small businesses.

But rather than limit her options, Posy has tried to broaden her chances of success by applying for a wide range of vacancies from editing and secretarial work to cleaning and retail.

The UEA graduate, who lives to the south of Norwich, said: “It’s so competitive and I don’t have all the experience most people want. Even with cleaning jobs, I have a summer’s worth of cleaning experience, but they don’t want me.”

She describes the problems facing young people as a “Catch 22 situation”: “You need experience to get work, you need work to get experience. It’s very discouraging to be rejected for work, especially over a long period of time.”

Posy, who is originally from Leicestershire, said ensuring the Norwich For Jobs campaign succeeded was important not just for young people in the short-term but for their long-term prospects too.

“We don’t want to have an inept generation of workers simply because we haven’t been given a chance earlier on in the game,” she said.

To read the Norwich For Jobs’ young persons’ blog, go to www.norwichforjobs.org.uk.