Graduate, The [documentary]

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Jonathan, Mohsin, Caroline, and Fiona are four graduates from Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University who completed their degrees in June last year.

They had studied hard and paid there fees, and were ready to begin the search for that elusive first job.

But, along with over 300,000 other graduate hopefuls, they were joining the job market in the midst of a recession and when the number of students going to university was at the highest it had ever been.

From handing out CVs, applying for work experience and signing on, to returning home, dealing with rejection and, in some cases, finding work, Sarfraz Manzoor pieces their year together.

This programme follows the group in their first six months as graduates.

Like their peers, our graduates believed that a degree would be an investment for their futures, with higher salaries and rapid career progression being the expected returns.

But will their much coveted degree certificate be a stepping stone to a job, or is it time for them to revaluate this traditional narrative, and reconsider why they went to university in the first place?

In addition to their encounters and thoughts, Sarfraz Manzoor offers insights into the graduate labour market.

For example, he hears how important graduates are for the growth of specialist markets in the UK, yet questions whether they are, in fact, up to the task: one company reveals that out of 2000 applications, they were unable to find 20 suitable candidates.

Combining first-hand testimony with wider analysis, Sarfraz Manzoor explores the genuine experience of today's graduate, the impact they have on the economy and society, and what their futures may hold.

Produced by Katie Burningham

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Sarfraz Manzoor charts the experiences of graduates looking for work.

Lauren, Jonathan, Mohsin, Caroline, Fiona and Samantha are six graduates from Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University who completed their degrees in June last year.

They had studied hard and paid their fees, and were ready to begin the search for that elusive first job.

So, to see just how hard the year ahead would be, the graduates agreed to be followed.

The first programme follows the group in their first six months as graduates.

Sarfraz Manzoor offers insights into the graduate labour market.

He hears how important graduates are for the growth of specialist markets in the UK - but are they up to the task? One company reveals that out of 2000 applications, they were unable to find 20 suitable candidates.

Combining first-hand testimony with wider analysis, Sarfraz explores the genuine experience of today's graduate, the impact they have on the economy and society, and what their futures may hold.

Producer: Katie Burningham

A Falling Tree production.

02 LAST2010080220101018

John, Mohsin, Caroline and Fiona are four graduates from Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University who completed their degrees in June last year.

Six months in, programme two catches up with the group to see whether or not they have been able to find work, and introduces us to two new graduates, Samantha Del Core and Lauren Hughes.

Samantha graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in Interior Architecture and had planned to set up her own business.

But as Sam faces competition on the horizon from 2010's cohort of eager young graduates, will her entrepreneurial spirit carry her through?

And Lauren, an aspiring journalist, questions whether the seemingly endless round of work experience placements she has been doing will get her any where.

2010 was the previous Government's benchmark for getting 50% of all school leavers into Higher Education.

By widening participation and increasing access to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, universities were seen as way of increasing social mobility.

But as entry to the top professions, such as law and medicine, continues to be dominated by those from the most affluent families, Sarfraz Manzoor asks whether a degree alone can enable someone to realize their aspirations.

Combining first-hand testimony with wider analysis, Sarfraz Manzoor explores the genuine experience of today's graduate, the impact they have on the economy and society, and what their futures may hold.

Producer: Katie Burningham

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Six months on, Sarfraz Manzoor catches up with the group to see if they have found work.

John, Mohsin, Caroline and Fiona are four graduates from Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University who completed their degrees in June last year, joining the job market in the midst of a recession.

To see just how hard the year ahead would be, the graduates agreed to be followed.

Six months in, we catch up with the group to see whether or not they have been able to find work, and meet two new graduates, Samantha Del Core and Lauren Hughes.