Graduates 'more stressed than ever'


Hundreds of thousands of students across the country are graduating from university this week and are finding out that it's not going to be easy to walk into a dream job. The number of vacancies is down, competition is tough and the Careers Advice service says graduates are much more stressed than in recent years. Catherine Burns reports from Leicester.

Graduates at Portsmouth University
Image caption Thousands of graduates are getting stressed trying to find work

After three years of working, and a fair bit of playing, it all comes down to this. A cloak, a funny hat and your parents looking on proudly.

Hundreds of students are there for their graduation ceremony.

Nicola has just finished her French degree. Her big worry is that she might trip up on stage.

She's not the only one stressing about that, as the graduates file into the hall.

Inside, the buzz of chatter dies down and the brass band strikes up.

There's lots of pomp and ceremony, but even with all the celebration, the official speeches are realistic about what is going on in the outside world.

The university's Vice-Chancellor talks about how the recession means many students will struggle to find work.

Now what?

Once the ceremony is over, it's back outside for some heavy duty posing. Groups get together and chuck their hats in the air for the cameras.

Image caption A student celebrates graduating from university

And it's time for a reality check for Nicola.

Right now, the only money she's earning comes from temp work at a call centre. And even that isn't coming through quickly.

She says: "It's just impossible. I'm applying for everything and I've only had one interview."

Leicester's one of the top 20 universities in the country but it's still tough for graduates.

A few weeks ago, the campus newspaper headline said: "2009: The worst year to graduate."

Joe agrees with that. He did financial economics but instead of getting a high-powered job in the banks, he's carrying on with bar work.

Others say they're going travelling and hoping things will be better when they get back.

It doesn't help that this year's lot of graduates are the first to have paid higher tuition fees all the way through uni.

And now, there are an average of 48 graduates competing for every single job.

Becky has one way to avoid all that. She's going to do a Masters.

Stay motivated

She says: "It's not for my love of the course, I'll tell you that much.

"I'm worried about next year as well, because if it doesn't sort itself out, then I'll have spent another £3,500 on a qualification that's not going to get me anywhere."

Bernie Rizzi is from the Careers Advice service. She thinks it is tougher than ever for graduates.

"They are facing a situation where there are fewer jobs around and the prospects look bleak for them. But there are always opportunities out there."

She says it's important to make sure your CV is up to date, and try to get some experience doing volunteer work.

And most important of all, try not to let things get you down.

She says it might take longer to find work, but staying motivated will be a big help.