A Blackburn-based butcher has said he was “flabbergasted” when he received 235 applications for an apprentice position with his company – and that many were from graduates desperate for work.

Offering an insight into of the true extent of the graduate unemployment problem in the UK, Mr Ewens told the Daily Mail:

“We’ve been flabbergasted at the applicants. Lots of graduates have applied with absolutely no butcher or counter experience but holding law degrees. There were people with a lot of qualifications but who’d never worked in a butcher’s before – graduates, lawyers, solicitors, surveyors. It’s unbelievable but just shows the state of the country at this moment in time.”

Ewans placed an advert in the local Jobcentre seeking two apprentices, with some experience preferred.

Although he was impressed at the standard of applicants, he said he was unlikely to hire a graduate for the role, saying:

“We don’t want to take on a graduate who will be off as soon as another job comes along that suits their qualifications better.”

A new survey gave another astonishing glimpse into what life is really like for university graduates in 2011.

According to research by talent management company SHL, almost two-thirds of recent university leavers are either unemployed or ‘under-employed’ – meaning they are doing a job that doesn’t require a degree.

Sean Howard, the company’s vice-president, said:

“The UK is failing its graduates. School leavers are faced with difficult decisions. not only has the cost of going to university risen, but UK employment options are bleak.”

However, some experts say graduates shouldn’t assume their degree is worthless just because they haven’t managed to secure a job yet.

James Callander at recruitment consultancy Fresh Minds told Graduate Fog:

“At the end of the day, the best employers will always favour candidates with a good degree from a top university. As an agency, we have in no way seen a shift away from this fact from our clients. If anything, recruitment in the financial services, management consultancies, and professional services is growing exponentially, as is the demand for employees with a truly impressive academic track record that demonstrates their hard working ethos and their aptitude to learn fast.”

*Are you applying for non-graduate roles?
What jobs have you been going for – and why? Have you had any joy? Do you agree that there are simply not enough graduate jobs out there – and that a large number of university leavers will end up in jobs that don’t require a degree? What is the solution to this problem?

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