After months of searching for work since graduating in June from the University of Kent, Lindsey Kendall has had enough. Next week, the 21-year-old from Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire will be boarding a plane to New Zealand, leaving behind the gloom of Britain’s jobless economy.
Kendall joins an exodus of 10,000 Britons to New Zealand this year, plus many more who are heading to Australia and Canada and less-traditional destinations for emigrants, such as Germany and Singapore.
“The only available jobs I could see were hospitality or general low-entry jobs – nothing for a graduate. So I decided that if I’m going to work in a bar or on reception, I might as well do it in a new country as part of a new experience. I’m heading to New Zealand to start my working holiday visa, and hopefully it shouldn’t take me too long to find a job.”
Kendall says that few of her fellow leavers have had much luck landing a graduate job. “There’s only one I know who has got what you might call a proper graduate job. Everyone else is still looking.”
Youth unemployment in the UK has reached one million and is continuing to rise, with figures this week showing 1,017,000 16-24-year-olds now claiming benefit.
Sitting out the UK recession by heading to a stronger economy will give graduates new life skills and experiences that, when they return, may help them land a better job. A lucky few may also obtain high-paying graduate-style jobs in their chosen country – but don’t bet on it. Online forums used by Britons on visa programmes for 18-30-year-olds warn others not to expect it easy when they arrive abroad.