Finding your first job can feel like a Catch-22. Every job ad seems to expect several years experience under your belt before you can think about applying. Even for entry level roles right at the bottom of organisations. It’s not helped by the fact that families that are rich enough pay for their children to work for free to get some experience. It can leave you feeling you might as well give up before you start because you haven’t got a hope.
The people who are really to blame is whoever is writing these ads. They are fools for thinking that experience is all that important. I have worked in my job for three years and I know for a fact that there are sixteen year olds who would be better at it than me given a few months training. Indeed, I know people who have been doing their jobs for ages and are so naturally inept and uninterested that they probably do the company more harm than good showing up to work. Still, the situation is what it is. One way of addressing the issue that does make sense and seems to work is apprenticeships. They’re great for people who get onto them, it’s just a shame there aren’t more of them.
Camden Council ran a scheme in 2013 to increase the number of apprenticeships on offer to young people in the borough. They called it 100 in 100 because the idea was to get a hundred new apprenticeships created in one hundred days. I wanted to do a piece about it to find out how effective it was.
I got in touch with the council and they were very helpful. They set up a meeting with one of the young people who was on the apprenticeships scheme, working for the Welcome Trust on Euston Road. This is the piece that came from that.
. Even for entry level roles. Which is unfair. It makes you feel like you might as well give up before you start. I blame the people that write the adverts for this problem. I have worked with people with years of experience who are so bad at their jobs that they probably hurt the company by being employed. Most jobs, someone who started six months ago has every chance of being better at it than someone who’s been doing it for half their life. Once you learn the basics, things very quickly come down to how naturally suited or not you are to a role.
Still, the problem remains that getting your first job is incredibly tough.