Apprentice fever strikes as one in four new graduates consider entrepreneurship

They may have just graduated, but already the Class of 2013 are plotting new ways to tackle the job market

The number of graduates ‘seriously considering’ working for themselves has grown by 15 per cent on last year, with one in four 2013 leavers now planning on becoming entrepreneurs.

A recent survey of 2,000 students by Save the Graduate found that with 8.6 per cent of them tackling unemployment, the average graduate expects to achieve a starting salary of just £17,600. Nearly two thirds of graduates are contemplating unpaid internships in an effort to step onto the career ladder as the reality of high job competition begins to hit home.

Popular TV programmes such as Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice have likely inspired students, alongside government initiatives to spark more young people into creating their own paths. Entrepreneurial clubs and societies have cropped up across UK schools and universities, with many students finding the opportunity to lead new ventures exciting.

Owen Burek, founder of Save the Graduate and a recent graduate himself, cites circumstance, wider support, and university enterprise events as possible reasons for the rise. He commented: “Entrepreneurs have traditionally been the underdogs who bypassed higher education to make their millions, but I believe that we will see more and more young entrepreneurs passing through our universities. The Class of 2013 appear to be more entrepreneurial than ever, which can only be a good thing in a stalled economy.”

There’s something entrepreneurial in the air up north, with students from the University of Manchester most keen on starting their own businesses. One graduate explained: “I've applied for hundreds of jobs but, with no real response from employers, I've concluded that the current job market is just too saturated with graduates and degrees don't mean as much these days. I may as well try and make my own way”.

Recent Bournemouth graduate Sophie Roberts is similarly determined to carve her own route. “I keep getting told how unlucky I am to be a graduate in a country where there’s little to no jobs to go around. This doesn’t really worry me because I believe I can make my own luck. I come from a family of entrepreneurs; my parents started their own business. If they can all do it, why can’t I?”

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