We'd like to thank all those who posed questions
and for our Job Squad who gave up their time today. Please come
back next month.
We apologise if we didn't get to your question,
we've answered as many as we could today. See below for questions
hrgurush Sandie Holmes @ @MichelleMone
What has been your biggest business
challenge in managing your people?
I would say that if they’re not prepared to work
as a team then it won’t work for them and it won’t work for the
business. Teamwork is essential.
joannasaurusrex Joanna Montgomery
Do you think Scotland is leading with way
in the UK in terms of innovation and enterprise?
Scotland was the home of the telephone,
penicillin and Ultimo – so why not more?
I also live in Scotland. It’s really important to
grow awareness of the benefits of entrepreneurship across Scotland
and all the great success stories. There are many we have heard of
but thousands more we should also celebrate.
I can’t decide what I should go in to.
What do you think the best industries are for the
Online is the future, that’s why I’ve chosen to
set up a creative marketing agency.
There are also lots of jobs in social care,
hospitality and green industries.
We’re launching Ultimo Beauty and Ultimo Tan –
people will always want to look their best.
YvieBurnettFans ★Yvie Fan★
So I'm at the stage where I really don't
know what I want to do - any ideas how I go about realising/finding
Do what you’re passionate about and give it
I’ve never really had a proper job but I
really want one. When I go for job interviews they want to know
what I have done in previous jobs but I don’t have anything to say.
They also want references but I don’t really have anyone to ask as
I never got on with my teachers at school. I’m in a catch
If I volunteer will I loose my
You can volunteer without losing benefits, talk
to your Job Centre adviser. Volunteering is a great way to learn
skills and experience. There are also lots of courses to boost your
confidence and skills, like the ones we run at The Prince’s
You can get references from people other than
employers – people who have known you for a long time, through
family, sports clubs, hobbies etc. Compile all of your skills and
experience from school, volunteering and the process of applying
for jobs. This will show your determination, communication skills
Do you have to accept whatever money you
are offered if you get an job offer? How do you get them to offer
Be realistic about what you think you should be
paid. If you can justify why you’re worth a little more, then ask –
You need to prove your value to the company, then
I’ve moved to England recently and I've
been looking for a job for about month and I have nothing yet. I’m
very disappointed. I have visited a lot of job agencies, Job Centre
Plus every day (I send a lot of CV and so on) but I have found
nothing. I live in Bristol.
You have to treat finding a job as a job in
itself. When I was searching for work I set myself the goal of
sending out ten applications a day. Try not to get too emotional
about rejection – you’re not going to get every job, but it really
will work out.
It’s really tough out there at the moment – we
hear stories like this every day. We have programmes running in
Bristol, which could help you get back on your feet. Have a look in
the south west section of our website.
Follow up your applications with a phone call –
don’t miss any opportunity.
Find out where you want to work and follow them
on Twitter – get yourself in the right place at the right time.
I’ve been to several job interviews in
the past three months, but I’ve not yet had any job offers. Is it
OK to ask a company to give me some feedback?
The whole panel:
If you were just starting out now and
trying to build yourself a career, what advice would you give
Follow your passions and be confident about what
you want to do. If you’re really passionate you will always find a
way to succeed.
Keep an open mind and gain as many experiences as
It’s all down to how hard you work – the
commitment you show to your business or employer. The harder you
work, the luckier you become.
What are your thoughts on internships and
volunteer work? Would you consider taking on interns within your
Definitely: fresh talent and a fresh approach is
a brilliant thing. We do lots of placements.
We take on volunteers and interns at The Prince’s
Trust – it’s an invaluable way for young people to gain experience,
new skills and it can definitely lead to work.
What three things do you think it takes
to succeed as an entrepreneur?
Work the hardest you can work. Play the hardest
you can play. And always give something back (which is why I’m here
Relentless determination. Relentless
determination. Relentless determination!
Take good advice, which is priceless. Believe in
yourself. Focus on what you truly want to do
Do you think that the job market has
reached saturation with graduates? What would you suggest doing to
make yourself stand out to potential employers?
If you want to stand out, look at all of the
options available to you. Consider voluntary work and use everyone
in your network. You can develop contacts through online networks –
this can be really valuable.
Look at your experience and your appearance. Ask
friends and family what stands out – emphasise the strengths and
improve your weaknesses. You never get anywhere without working
really hard – you can never cut corners.
Just go for it – you get knock backs, but you
can’t take it too personally. Keep pushing forward and focus where
you need to get to.
Michelle, what one piece of advice would
you give to young people who are only just starting out in
Do your homework, do your research on your
product and competitors – you need to be so much better than your
Also create a great business plan, with clear
goals for each day, week and month.
Never give up on your dreams.
I work for an education charity, what
advice would you give to sixth formers unsure about whether or not
to go to university?
I would advise that they should think about what
is right for them as it all depends on what job they are aiming to
do. We support both the academic and non academic routes for young
people. There is not one size that fits all.
We’ve just worked with a group of sixth form
girls who set up a business to create a beauty product. They
pitched their products to a department store buyers and got great
feedback. This is great business experience and could lead them to
becoming entrepreneurs, without needing university degrees.
I mentor at a school and some of the students
face the same issues. Look at all the options, discuss them with
your parents and careers/education counsellor and work out which is
the best route to reach your goals.
I‘ve been struggling to find a job after
graduating last summer with a media degree and I’m currently
working some part time hours in an off licence. I think maybe it’s
time just to go on a gap year as I saved some of my student loan
and have always wanted to travel.
My mum is basically saying that I should
save that money to see me through hard times and show commitment to
my career by finding a job rather than having a long holiday around
the world and coming back broke. I think employers would like to
see this kind of stuff on my CV and I’m not doing anything good
here anyway. What would the panel do?
Why not do both together - take a gap year, do a
world tour, but gain some relevant experience along the way. You’ll
be able to build up your CV, your mum will be happy and it will
help you secure a job when you get back.
I’m thinking of starting up my own
business, however the banks aren’t lending any money to small
businesses at the moment especially young people. Can the panel
suggest another way of getting funding? What is the best way to
start a business in the current climate? Is it even a good idea to
start a business at the moment?
Michelle says :
The Prince’s Trust helped me start my business
Ultimo 14 years ago – it’s now a £45 million retail turnover
business. It’s not easy to get bank funding at the moment, but look
for other sources – from local enterprise agencies to European
funds. But start with The Prince’s Trust (or PSYBT in Scotland) and
they can offer funding as well as mentoring support – which is
Banks work very closely with The Prince’s Trust.
Having a strong business plan is really important for any business
seeking funding. At RBS we’re approving 85% of loan applications at
the moment, however if you are turned down for funding, speak to
your bank manager to find out why and work with them to look at
what your options are to get future funding.
As a small business owner, it’s really difficult
to get capital, but The Prince’s Trust is a great first start. I
talk to my Trust mentor all the time and he always gives me great
advice – money isn’t everything. Remember Google is your friend –
keep searching for grants and business competitions.
I don’t have any qualifications because I
didn’t get any decent GCSEs and didn’t get into college. I don’t
even know where to start.
One in three young people don’t get five good
GCSEs and thousands leave school each year with none at all –
you’re not alone. At The Prince’s Trust we know it’s possible to
make a success of your life, whatever your background, so don’t
give up hope! Check out the opportunities on our website.
That’s so close to my own experience. See the
bigger picture of where you want to end up - passion, goals and
focus count for so much.
Think big, get experience and find a way to get
through the door. If you don’t have qualifications, it’s not the
end of the world – I left school at 15.
I am 25 and unemployed. I have been for
over 2 years now.
My problem is that I don't know what I
want to do and I don't think I ever will. I left school and went
straight into a plastering apprenticeship and I did the job for
over 6 years, before leaving because my employer got short on work.
I then decided that I would look for a completely different job but
was unsure on what.
Since then I have applied for jobs and
had interviews but none of them has lead to a job. I have a well
presented cv and I got decent grades at school. But I just can't
seem to decide on what I want to do. Any advice on how I can come
to a decision would be great.
Ginny replies: The Prince’s
Trust delivers a programme called Get Into which gives you a taste
of an industry and the chance to gain experience. If you look on
our website www.princes-trust.org.uk you can see what is going on
in your area. Also there are some web sites such as www.icould.com
which offer some helpful ideas.
This is a very common issue. In my experience,
few people start out with a clear idea of what they want to do. I
suggest you think about the things you are passionate about – make
that your starting point. Do as much research as you can and don’t
be discouraged if the first job doesn’t work out.
@Breastford asks: I have been trying to
get back to work for 2 months. Most interviews I have had, I have
got the job, however I'm not even getting a response from companies
I'm applying for. Its soo frustrating.
What am I doing wrong?
There is huge competition for jobs at the moment
and every CV must stand out. My recommendation is that you make
sure your CV is concise and is tailored for the job you are
applying for. The more you can show that you have researched the
company, the specific job and have the skills to match the
It can also be a good idea to follow up with a
phone call. Good luck !
I know those exact feelings, emotions and
frustrations as I have been there not so long ago. Don’t see it as
you are doing something wrong but a chance to change your strategy.
You're getting interviews - that's great! This shows that you are
doing more right than you give yourself credit.
Maybe it’s in your communication, cover letter or
CV. Are you tailoring your cover letter and CV to the job
specification? Ring politely a week later to see if they have
received your application. If you don't get the job, ask for
feedback on your application and ask them what your application
needed to be successful - also ask what it might be lacking.
Always keep learning and sharpening up. Stay
positive too - even though it can get very hard, don't give up. Try
visualising yourself getting a great job to keep yourself
Michelle Mone OBE, 39, is the co-owner of MJM
International and creator of Ultimo, the UK’s leading designer
Listed as one of the top three female entrepreneurs in the UK
and recently voted as the number one woman in business by Glamour
Magazine, Michelle has built a hugely successful career on an
incredibly simple concept: giving today’s women what they want.
Entrepreneurial spirit was prevalent from an early age in
Michelle, who grew up in the east end of Glasgow. She left school
at 15, with no qualifications, to find full-time employment, after
her father was struck down by an illness leaving him confined to a
To support her family Michelle took on a job at Labatt Brewers’
and quickly climbed the ranks from office junior to senior manager,
running the Sales & Marketing team by the time she was just 20
But it was in 1996 when her idea for Ultimo was born. Whilst
attending a dinner dance with her husband Michael, Michelle was
wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing bra and, as a
result, had a ‘light bulb’ moment; Michelle decided to invent a bra
that was more comfortable, more innovative, more attractive and
more cleavage enhancing than any other bra on the market.
MJM International was set up in November 1996. Since launching
the business Michelle has established herself as one of Scotland’s
biggest exports; in 2000 Ultimo was catapulted into the media
limelight when Hollywood actress Julia Roberts wore an Ultimo
plunge-bra to enhance her cleavage in Erin Brockovich. Later that
year Michelle won the coveted ‘World Young Business Achiever Award’
at the Epcot Centre, Florida, and then ‘Business Woman of the Year’
at the Corporate Elite Awards in London.
In 2001 HRH Prince Charles invited Michelle to join the Board of
Directors for The Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust. Michelle
also won ‘Best Newcomer’ at the British Apparel Export Awards,
presented by HRH The Princess Royal, adding to her long list of
awards, accolades and recognitions.
Over the years Michelle’s business has gone from
strength-to-strength, developing beyond the original umbrella of
Ultimo lingerie to encompass Miss Ultimo, Ultimo Shapewear, Ultimo
Swimwear and partner lines including Diamond Boutique for Tesco,
Adore Moi by Ultimo for Debenhams and Michelle for George for
Michelle currently lives on the outskirts of Glasgow with her
husband Michael and their three children. Michelle has achieved a
remarkable level of success to date, juggling the demands of her
business together with motherhood - as well as a soaring media
profile & TV Career, having recently appeared on BBC’s Comic
Relief Does the Apprentice and ITV’s 71 Degrees North. But in her
own words, ‘this is only the beginning’.
Find a job
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Become an Apprentice
Apprenticeships can be a good option if you want to earn a
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- The National Apprenticeships Service gives you
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the right route for you. Find out more
- Directgov also has lots of advice and
information about Apprenticeships.
Find out more
You probably have more options than you think. You could
gain more qualifications, look for your first job, find an
apprenticeship, or look into training or voluntary work.
There's lots of help for you online and we’ve collected together
some of the best sites below.
Continue in education
Studying for more qualifications could be a great step towards
finding the job that's right for you.
- Directgov offers a range of options if you'd
like to stay in education.
Find out more
Volunteering can develop your skills and give you valuable
experience, and there are loads of opportunities out there.
- vinspired can link you up with volunteering
opportunities near you. Find