'YOUNG & JOBLESS', MONTH 2: CRAIG'S THOUGHTS

Hearing what Richard Joseph said on the phone about London being the place to be for creative work, I guess I was being stubborn and thinking Manchester is where I belong...

But I’ve thought long and hard about moving away and I am certainly willing to move to wherever the work is.

The live broadcast went so fast, I was itching to carry on chatting with Richard, my mentor. I have managed to get some work experience through NOISEfestival.com which has been amazing for my confidence. In between my work experience I have been going through my portfolio of work; it’s been a while since I have had an interview for a design position so I needed to update things. I found it hard printing my posters off due to lack of money.

The journey down to London was tense, the train decided to stop at Crewe for around 20 minutes which made me conscious; I did not want to show up late!! My train arrived at Euston at 2:50pm, I power walked straight to the underground, forgetting how manic the underground is. The last time I was in London was for my graduation show on Brick Lane, almost 2 years ago. I even had to ask for assistance buying a ticket for the tube, everything seemed foreign to me which I would normally thrive on but time was against me. I got off at Oxford Circus remembering how much I hate Oxford High Street. I found the street I was looking for using my phone. Eventually finding my destination, I met Jo from Wise Buddah and Vic from NOISEfestival.com, we sat down and had a drink and went over some questions I had for Richard. I was nervous but calm about meeting Rich. I was more apprehensive about what he had to say about my folio of work and CV. What if I had no talent at all and he said ‘give up on your ambitions of being a designer’!!? Had I wasted 29 years of my life chasing a dream that would never happen?? Before I knew it we was outside his studio. They buzzed us straight in and walked up to his studio, I spent a few minutes looking round at all of the amazing products he had designed and put into production. Rich came out of a room and walked over with a huge smile; I shook his hand and introduced myself. I instantly felt at ease

. Craig meets Richard After I came out the meeting I felt confident and more determined than ever that I would make it within the design industry. I think it’s really easy to lose all your confidence in your abilities when you have been out of work for a long time. I can’t even get a job as a cleaner so who would give me a job as a designer? I know I have a lot of hard work ahead but I’m willing to do what it takes to get to where I want to be, Richard advised me to revamp my CV as it didn’t really say much about myself as a person or as a designer. He also suggested working on my folio whenever possible. Once I have my CV up to scratch he suggested meeting up with an agency that he deals with often. He said I would be able to chat about what direction I want to take with the design industry and then make a plan to target certain places for work. My dream is to have my own design company but from chatting with Richard I’ve realised I need to take a job that I might not necessarily want, the fact that I will be around other like minded people will only take me into directions I’ve never thought of before.

I couldn’t put a price on having a mentor and even the help I’ve received from Jo at Wise Buddah and the team at NOISEfestival.com. These people have given me the confidence to carry on and not give up. I think the government could do more with work experience, I know they have just released a scheme offering free labour!!! I can understand a school leaver needing experience within a working environment but I’ve worked in supermarkets before. How would this benefit me? Surely it’s in the Government’s interest to get me into a job so that I can start to pay back my huge student debt? I don’t think all the blame can be put upon the Government; I also think that companies themselves need to take an interest in tomorrow’s generation.If I had my own company I think it would be in my interest to search out people that needed help/mentoring into full time work. Not everyone is fortunate enough or financially stable to have opportunities or have work experience given to them.

My plan now is to concentrate on getting my CV redesigned to a level that either matches or surpasses my competition. I also need to work on my folio and get that up to scratch. I am worried about being able to afford printing out my work at a standard that is professional enough to take to interviews. My goal is to start getting interviews again for design jobs, I want to take one step at a time but I think I would like to make the move to London.  A new fresh start with a new job really excites me! I think it’s what I need right now as I feel like I’m in a rut at the minute. Craig Atherton, 29, from Wigan – Graduate, unemployed, currently on Job Seekers Allowance

This is a guest post from Craig who took part in the 'NOISE Young & Jobless' radio documentary series, broadcast over 4 months on BBC 5Live in 2012. The programme followed four unemployed young people as they looked for work, hooking them up with mentors and advice on their journey. For more information about this project, the participants and mentors   --see here--