Tag Archives: CV

David Cameron: careers adviser

6 Jun

Dave is here for all your career needs

Are you in your twenties? At uni? Approaching the end of your degree course? Already graduated but yet to find full-time work? If you answered to any two of the above, then, like me, you may be feeling apprehensive about the gaping void ahead.

But to those in my situation, sharing my concerns about our collective future – relax: the government has it all worked out.

If you weren’t calmed by Ed Miliband’s appearance on BBC Breakfast News on May 25, when he talked about tackling youth employment, don’t worry – his appearance unsettles everyone. If you feared that Ed’s proposal to solve youth unemployment with a banker’s tax was as plausible as Eric Pickles becoming the face of Weight Watchers, then let the coalition reassure you.

Think back to the heady post-election months when Prime Minister David ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron had a plan. And he called it ‘Big Society’. Those two little words may make your stomach lurch, but they were our man Dave’s solution to every problem Britain ever had.

Dave’s Big Plan

In Autumn 2010, Dave used the Big Society concept to suggest a great alternative to actual jobs – graduates could just work for free. Young people jobless after education could busy themselves with volunteering, work placements and internships. The latest addition to Cameron’s strategy was his £60million initiative to combat rising youth unemployment by creating work placements in private firms, launched on May 11 this year.

Brilliant. Employers get a free workforce of invaluable skilled graduates – a godsend, given that everyone’s feeling the pinch and that some services’ budgets are so squeezed they’re practically asphyxiated. University-leavers gain valuable experience to put on their CV and develop new skills. A win-win situation.

Which way to Cameron's careers advisory office?

Except that it isn’t. Here we are, an academic year later, and many of us – due to finish our course with no job lined up – have spotted a tiny flaw: you can’t live off your CV. A plumped up CV on its own can’t pay your bills or cover your rent or finance your commute. Solving unemployment by giving people unpaid work is like solving illiteracy by giving people picture books. It keeps us busily distracted without addressing the root of the problem

All in this together?

So what consolation is there for those of us graduating with uncertain work prospects and a mountain of debt? Well, I suggest that before we dismiss Dave as a careers adviser from hell, we utilise his Big Society plan more imaginatively. I propose that we nominate people to join in the working-for-free spirit advocated by the government.

For example, I would nominate Sir Fred Goodwin, former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland who walked away with a £500,000 annual pension and £3million lump sum, while the bank was bailed out by taxpayers. Recently revealed to have had an affair with a former colleague, I would put him forward for a work experience stint at a marriage counselling agency.

My second vote goes to Sir Philip Green, the retail mogul who allegedly avoided tax on a £1.2billion dividend last year. I would recommend him for an unpaid internship in Topshop.

Rupert prepares for his paper round

Next up, MP David Laws who claimed over £40,000 in accommodation expenses while actually renting his boyfriend’s flat for free. He should do a work placement at an estate agent.

Rupert Murdoch, who was reported to be responsible for tax evasion of millions of pounds in the late 1990s, should volunteer as a paperboy.

It might not solve the problem of youth unemployment, but it would certainly make me feel better, knowing that they were doing their part to prop up the Big Society.

After all, aren’t we all in this together?

By Luxmy Gopal


The Apprentice: the reality behind reality TV

28 Jan

Shibby in the aftermath of his three weeks of reality TV fame.

As a fan of The Apprentice, I wanted to test my interviewing skills on Sir Alan – sorry, Lord Sugar (why does that sound like the name of a porn magnate?). However, apparently my journo credentials aren’t up there yet, so I ended up with Shibby Robati.

“Who?” I hear you ask. You know the guy – the one who got fired in Week 3 for turning up to a client with only 16 bread rolls instead of the 1,000 ordered. The one whose level-headed response to this crisis was: “Tell them to go on the Atkins diet”. The one whose soundbite – “My first word wasn’t ‘mummy’, it was ‘money’” – was replayed endlessly, perhaps as a warning to other budding reality show stars that, if it sounds witty in your head, it will probably come across as moronic on TV.

When I actually meet Shibby in the lobby of the Guildford Spectrum leisure centre (it’s a glamorous job), I encounter a down-to-earth guy who doesn’t fit his mildly ludicrous on-screen persona. Turning up in football kit in preparation for a kick-about with his old school chums, the 27-year-old former surgeon is keen to emphasise that he and fellow Apprentice candidates were “credible business people from a credible business background”.

“No-one goes in there thinking they’re just going to be on TV”, he says. “I approached the whole thing as a job opportunity. There’s a thorough criteria and selection process that can fish out the bad apples pretty quickly”.

Shibby is vehemently defensive of the show’s integrity: “Obviously you’re under extreme pressure and you’re quite vulnerable in the house. But the camera never lies. No-one was coerced into saying anything.”

He does admit, however, that while it is “fundamentally a business programme”, The Apprentice does have “TV obligations”:

“The balance was to find credible business people who also fit the role on TV.”

Of the controversial episode where a strong-but-dull candidate, Liz Locke, was fired, allowing a more ratings-winning character, Stuart ‘The Brand’ Baggs, to stay in, Shibby says: “You could argue it was a TV decision rather than a business decision”.

The manipulation for television was also evident in how the BBC played up Shibby’s northern roots. Despite having moved at age three to Guildford where he still lives and works today, he was described on the show as being from Leeds because the programme-makers didn’t want the candidates to seem like a collection of Southerners.

Each series of The Apprentice films two versions of the final results show, so that no-one knows who the actual winner is until the finalé is aired. The winners also tend to leave the job after six months or so, in spite of gushing in the boardroom about how they want to work for Sir-alun/Lord Sugar of Battersea until their dying day.

So, as with the Deloitte graduate scheme, you pretend that your life-long dream is to get the job, but once you’re hired, you whack it onto your CV and scamper off to do something better.

Shibby is in no doubt that the experience boosted his CV. “Since The Apprentice, I’ve had three promising job prospects from big organisations.”

Maybe this is just as well. His hopes that the show would raise his profile enough to land a more prominent role within his community – such as speaking in schools or business seminars – have not been realised. The faded reality TV ‘star’ who confesses to a “short shelf-life” is already past his sell-by date: even the Guildford local press consider him “old news”. Still, he made it onto this blog, which must count for something, right?…

By Luxmy Gopal