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Blackburn graduate campaigning against young jobless
A BLACKBURN graduate is campaigning against youth unemployment on Channel 4’s Battlefront programme.
Ava Patel, 23, from Crompton Place, was optimistic about getting on the career path after completing a three-year journalism degree at Nottingham Trent University.
However, after completing her course, Ava struggled to find work and sent out hundreds of CVs, and job applications.
She said: “I wasn’t prepared for the lack of opportunities, and constant door-shutting in my face.
“I applied to stack shelves at a supermarket and, when I was rejected, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“Every application came back with the same response, but without any feedback.”
The former Witton Park and Griffin Park School pupil managed to get a job at a 999 call centre in the town, and worked voluntarily to gain valuable work experience.
While browsing Twitter one day, she spotted a tweet about the show and applied to be a campaigner.
She had two weeks to find accommodation in London before starting filming in July.
She said: “It’s an amazing campaign and I can really relate to young unemployed people as I have been there myself.
“My mentor John Higginson, political editor of the Metro, set me a task of forming a youth choir so that young people’s voices could be heard.”
Ava is one of four campaigners, who have each been set a different task to promote youth employment in 16 to 24-year-olds.
“I have been speaking to a lot of young people about how they feel about the situation, and what they want to change. We really want to leave a legacy after the show. I am hoping to speak to top politicians and argue our cause.
“A lot of young people are disengaged with politicians and they know I am helping to get young people’s voices heard.”
Ava and her choir have worked with pop star Paloma Faith and hope to work with Heather Small after selecting her song ‘Faith’ as their anthem.
She has also met with Alastair Campbell and Max Clifford during the campaign.
The programme is due to air in mid-November.
For more information visit www.battlefront.channel4.com
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