WITH undergraduate and masters degrees under his belt, you could be forgiven for thinking Paul Watkinson could walk into a new job.
However, that has not been the case for the 39-year-old ever since he was let go from a graphic design firm two years ago, when the economic climate forced the small business to cut jobs.
His hunt for a new employer has seen him search the whole of Yorkshire for work.
Now Paul hopes that signing up to The Star’s We Want to Work campaign – which aims to showcase some of the city’s 17,136 jobhunters to potential employers – will boost his prospects further.
He has performed well at interviews – getting down to the last crop of candidates on some occasions – but still remains on Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Life on benefits has proved difficult for Paul, as he has been used to holding down a full-time job since gaining qualifications in industrial design and marketing and management 15 years ago.
Paul, of Sheffield city centre, said: “It’s hard, because it is a bit of a specialist area, but I apply for all sorts of positions.
“I have experience working with clients, managing projects, educational marketing and managing exhibitions.
“I finished university in 1997 and after that I was always in employment.
“I have good references, but it is finding the chances which is hard.
“Sometimes it feels more like ‘who you know’.
“I’ve had good feedback in the jobs that I’ve gone for, but I just need somewhere to give me a chance. There are a lot of businesses out there in Sheffield which are similar to the ones that I have worked for in the past.”
To avoid gaps on his curriculum vitae, Paul has volunteered at marketing and graphic design firms and an art gallery.
He even helps jobseekers at Sheffield’s A4E, which delivers the government’s Work Programme, prep themselves and produce CVs.
He said: “Keeping myself working is very important to me.”
n If you are an employer with a suitable vacancy for Paul, call A4E on 0114 289 4700.
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