AN East Lancashire graduate struggling to find a job has teamed up in Westminster with a chart-topping celebrity to voice her concerns over youth unemployment.
Singing outside the Houses of Parliament with Paloma Faith, unemployed Ava Patel from Blackburn, carried out the protest as the Tory Party Conference got under way.
Ava and 13 ‘Battlefront’ campaigners sang while filming for the Channel 4 series.
A former Witton Park High School and Clitheroe Royal Grammar pupil, Ava left Nottingham Trent university two years ago with a degree in journalism and has been looking for work ever since. She said: “I know what it is like being unemployed when all you want to do is work.
“It is completely demoralising. You leave university with all the hopes and dreams and they are smashed into pieces.
“I was claiming JSA and doing work experience and it was awful. I knew that I wanted to be involved with Battlefront campaign because I was passionate about it. I got in touch and hopefully I have started the ball rolling.”
As part of the ‘Youth Voice Collective’, the 23-year-old aims to to get youth unemployment to the top of the political agenda. She said: “The government need to realise what young people face when they leave education. You can’t get a job because you don’t have experience so you are in a vicious circle.
“Awareness needs to be raised in schools too and children need guidance.”
Paloma Faith, who is aiming to raise awareness of youth unemployment, also struggled to find work after university. Ava added: “Unemployment affects more people than you think and it was great to hear it from Paloma herself.
“She was passionate and wanted to listen to what we had to say.
“Hopefully we can now raise the issue and give young people the work and skills they deserve.”
Currently more than one million 18-24 year olds are jobless across the UK.