A Fixer from Essex wants to show unemployed young people how engaging in volunteer work can boost their chances of finding work.
Her story was broadcast on ITV News London on Thursday 6th March.
Sarah Underdown (23) from Southend-on-Sea is now in further education as well as full-time employment, and wants to encourage jobseekers not to give up hope.
‘I was out of work for a long period of time. It did have a big effect on me,’ explains Sarah.
‘I felt low, I felt depressed. Half the time I wouldn’t want to go out or speak to people.’
‘You sit for hours on the computer filling out application forms and you don’t get a reply. It’s awful feeling like you don’t deserve a place in the world.’
Nye Cominetti from The Work Foundation appears in the broadcast piece and lends support to Sarah’s campaign, stating:
‘We know the UK has a youth unemployment crisis.
‘In the long term, it’s connected to mental health issues and, potentially, further periods of unemployment and reduced wages.’
After joining a confidence building course, Sarah managed to turn her luck around.
‘My life is completely different now. I’ve changed as a person,’ she explains.
‘I started off doing voluntary work and I gained work experience. I think when you help the community you feel like a better person and realise you do have a purpose.’
As part of her Fixers project, Sarah meets up with a group of young jobseekers in the broadcast, who have faced the challenges of unemployment.
One participant, Josh, comments:
‘If you’re working with other people through the day, you feel positive and happy, but if you’re stuck inside, you’re sitting at home with nothing.’
Encouraging young people to consider unpaid work experience opportunities, Sarah hopes her message hits home with those who are without work.
‘The thing that got me out of this vicious circle of feeling depressed is doing volunteering. I also joined a course and it changed my life.
‘I hope the young people that I speak to take in my support because there’s nothing worse than feeling worthless.’