Graduating to bigger things

The figures show that only 1,031 graduate-specific positions are available to the 56,645 students that will graduate from Scottish universities this year, as the worst recession since before the Second World War continues to affect the job market.

Now the GO Group, Scotland’s leading business support organisation, is asking graduates to consider their options and to consider launching their own enterprises rather than searching for employment in areas unrelated to their degrees.

Chief Executive, Isabell Majewsky, believes that entrepreneurship will play a vital role in getting Scotland’s graduates in to work and out of the recession and urges worried students to take their future in their own hands and become their own boss.

Majewsky explains:

“The Scottish economy may be showing signs of recovery which is great news for established businesses. Nevertheless, employers are looking very carefully at their current staffing levels and the number of available vacancies is expected to drop by a further 5% this year. Where in the past graduates were competing against each other for employment opportunities, now they’re also competing with many talented and experienced individuals who were made redundant and are trying to get their careers back on track.

“Scotland’s graduates have worked hard for four years so it’s vital that their hard work is not wasted. One way to ensure this is to take control and consider setting up their own business.”

And Majewsky has the following advice for students who expect to graduate this year:

“Concentrate on your studies and don’t let all the doom and gloom about the recession affect you. Some sectors will be worse affected than others. If you are thinking of starting your own business you must seek advice as soon as possible, be it from a mentor or business support agency.

“Remember the recession won’t last forever so think about what you want from your career, get good advice and be proactive now!”

Amanda Jones and James Brown launched their company, Red Button Design, in 2006. At the time, Amanda was a recent Philosophy graduate and James was still studying. He will complete his Masters in Product Design Engineering this year.

For Amanda, following her dreams and setting up Red Button Design was definitely the right choice. She said:

“After graduating, I worked in Sales and Marketing for a short time. I found it unfulfilling and so on one rainy day in Glasgow James and I started a conversation about the ‘state of the world’ and decided it would be great if someone would take seriously the opportunity to generate a product that the world ‘needed’ and not ‘wanted’.

“I knew instantly that we were going to do it and that starting our own venture was the way to achieve our goals. To make sure we were taken seriously, we educated ourselves on the growing phenomenon of for-profit social-enterprises and decided that not only could it be done, but we were the ones to do it. And that was the day that we went from sponsoring a child to developing products that could permanently change their lives for the better. It’s also the day we went from being university graduates to our own bosses. We haven’t looked back since.”

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