Aug 3 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
GRADUATES in Dumfries and Galloway are facing a jobs crisis.
Figures show that a huge percentage of university leavers are without work or are doing low-paid, short-term jobs.
More than 56 per cent of graduates face unemployment after gaining their degree and 20 per cent of those have been without work for more than a year.
The figures were published following a nationwide survey carried out by Citizens Advice Scotland.
Sue Irving (pictured), chief executive at the charity’s Dumfries and Galloway branch, revealed that there has been a marked increase in university graduates turning to them for help.
Sue said: “These trends are certainly reflected in the cases we see at the Citizens Advice Service.
“Of course everyone is suffering financially at the moment, not just graduates, and we provide a service for all citizens whether they have a degree or not.
“But there has certainly been an increase in the number of university-educated people coming through our doors with money worries.
“Going to university these days almost certainly means you will be in debt by the time you graduate.
“In the past, the trade-off has been that you assume your degree will help you find a well-paid job at the end of it.
“But for many now that’s just not the case.
“So we see quite a lot of people now who have a degree, no job and a mountain of debt.”
The report, which surveyed almost 1,000 people across Scotland, states that just 15 per cent of those who were unemployed or “under-employed” felt confident of finding a graduate-level job.
Almost two-thirds said that the careers advice provided at school was “poor” and a massive 78 per cent said that the Jobcentre was unhelpful in finding them a graduate-level position.
Sue added: “We would never say that a degree is not worthwhile, but this survey reveals the extent of the crisis that many graduates are facing.
“We feel it is important that students and graduates are given much more support in the transition from graduation into work.”
One degree-level graduate from the region, film-making and screenwriting student Aaron Carruthers, argued that the Government is not doing enough to create jobs for those leaving university.
Aaron, 27, of Stranraer, said: “I feel that graduates are having a tough time.
“We worked hard and I feel that we are thrown on the scrapheap.
“Employers say that we don’t have enough experience but they are not willing to give graduates a chance.
“I’m looking to have a career in media production but the internships that I’ve seen are leaning towards school leavers and graduates who are qualified can’t apply for them.”
Sue is also keen to stress that the Citizens Advice Service is there to help those who are experiencing any sort of problem.
She said: ““Anyone in Dumfries and Galloway who has financial worries like debt or low income should come and see our expert Money Advice team.
“Whether you are a graduate or not, we will help you manage your debt and finances better. Our help is free, impartial and completely confidential.”