Young Britain: `Everyone needs to feel secure, to have some stability'

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The Independent Online
Chloe Beattie, 19, of Workington, Cumbria, is in the first year of an English and art degree at Keele University.

"I've always done part-time work from an early age. When I was 16, I was doing the tills in Marks & Spencer and during my A-levels I did some waitressing. Most summer holidays I worked in a factory.

"People said I shouldn't do a part-time job when I was studying because they thought it would be hard to combine with the amount of homework I got. But I needed the money and you can always find a way of fitting everything in.

"Apart from my job and studying for my exams, I had to decide what to do in the future. It was all very stressful because I was worried about making the wrong choice. I was bogged down with everything and didn't have much time to think.

"In the end things didn't turn out very well. I took an art foundation course at a local college, but dropped out because it wasn't right for me.

"I ended up having a year out. I didn't go travelling or anything, but I went to live in London, which was a long way from home.

"I got a job in an office which gave me invaluable experience and turned out to be the best thing. I got the chance to learn things about the working environment which I would never have known if I had gone straight to university. Plus I've got real work experience, which is really important in today's job market. Now when I leave Keele I won't fall into the trap of having a degree but no experience. I definitely made the right choice about not going travelling.

"The society we live in is unstable. There is no security in the job market and a lot of people are worried about that. There is no guarantee that after doing a degree you can get a job. We need something stable in our life. That is why most young people want to get to settle down in a relationship because everyone needs to feel secure.

"Most young people I know are optimistic. I don't go around saying I'll never get a job. I know the job market is insecure but you can't just give in. If I carry on working hard I'll get a job and do something with my life."

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