Politicians are all talk and no action when it comes to the looming crisis of graduate unemployment, a recent graduate has claimed.

Despite the government’s claims that it is supporting university leavers through various schemes and initiatives, in real terms nothing has changed for most job-seeking graduates, she said.

“There seems to be a general awareness about the number of good graduates who can’t get decent jobs or are forced to do long-term unpaid work but beyond everyone saying ‘Oh dear’, I can’t see much going on to improve our situation,” she told Graduate Fog in a new interview.

“What riles me the most is politicians saying out-of-work under 25s should get work experience. Yes, we know this — but does it have to be endless and unpaid?”

‘Caroline’, 23, who graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2008 with a 2:1 in Sociology, also warned school pupils to think carefully before deciding to go to university – and signing up for an average of £23,000 of debt.

“All through our education, my generation has been told ‘Work hard, get a good degree, have outside hobbies, do extra work experience and you’ll get a good job.’ Well, we did — and now we can’t find work.”

“It’s just not true that a degree equals a good job anymore.”

In a reference to a recent speech by David Willetts, Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, Caroline agreed that many graduates are angry to find that their qualifications aren’t valid by employers – but that Willetts was wrong in thinking this only applied to those with vocational qualifications.

“In fact, I think degrees should be more vocational,” Caroline said.

“Graduates need to have more practical skills that are recognised in the workplace.

“Maybe there isn’t so much of a place for traditional subjects as there used to be — in which case, can somebody please tell us this before we get ourselves into £18,000 of debt for a qualification that no employer will value?

“We’re only 17 when we choose our degree subject so I think more help should be given to make sure we don’t waste our money.”

Caroline also suggested the government should provide tax breaks for businesses hiring graduates, do more to enforce the national minimum wage laws for interns – and keep tuition fees down until graduates are in a stronger position to find paid work straight after university.

Since Graduate Fog understands that David Willetts’ office is now following Graduate Fog (and I’ve just tipped them off about this post), perhaps Caroline’s ideas will be considered?

*To read Caroline’s interview in full, click here

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