Erin, 23, from Newcastle, graduated with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning in July 2020. She was unsure about her career direction going forward, and the pandemic made finding work even harder.
“It was horrible finishing university in lockdown. There was no graduation and I didn’t get to see my friends – so many of us were suddenly spending our time back at home with parents. It was also quite bleak seeing a lot of industries shut down, especially within the arts.
“With the pandemic, it was really hard to get work experience. I was looking for all sorts of jobs in summer 2020 but mostly wasn’t hearing back from my applications. I was also rejected from a number of places, including local supermarkets. Eventually I found a temporary job in October, but it didn’t last because there wasn’t enough demand – people just weren’t spending money.
“I think if I’d graduated and it hadn’t been during the pandemic, I’d still be unsure about my career direction but I’d feel more encouraged about finding work.
Erin found The Prince’s Trust in 2021, and in February took part in a course called Employ Me.
“The course was split into different topics each day, like writing CVs, covering letters and presenting yourself in online interviews.
“I’m now trying to narrow down my job applications to graduate jobs. As a result of the employability course I did with The Prince’s Trust, I’ve got more confidence to apply for jobs in urban planning.
“it’s been quite difficult to motivate myself during the pandemic because after a while you get set in the mindset of feeling ‘stuck’ - you’re not finding jobs, you’re not able to see your friends and you’re spending so much time at home. But I’ve been trying to keep active with daily exercise, and I’ve taken up some new hobbies, like sewing.
Erin’s advice to other young people struggling to find work is:
“The situation is tough, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel now. Everyone’s in the same boat, and we’re getting through it together.”