A 17 YEAR-old girl has described herself as part of the 'lost generation' after failing to find work, even voluntary work, despite walking miles to apply for jobs in every town of the Dean.

Jessica Hale from Cinderford says she left Heywood Community School last July with 14 GCSE passes from grade A* to C.

"I've now become part of what people rightly call 'the lost generation'.

"I have registered with Connexions and have taken aptitude tests for the South West Apprenticeship Company in which I achieved in excess of a 90 per cent pass and was described as a 'perfect' candidate.

"I have applied for the best part of 50 jobs and check for jobs every single day. I have also volunteered for work in charity shops, for the Salvation Army and at residential homes.

"Over Christmas I personally handed in my CV at every single shop in Gloucester, Cinderford, Coleford and Lydney and must have walked 20 miles in doing so.

"My problem appears that I am too young and do not have the previous experience employers want. On top of that I am in competition for the very few jobs available against qualified and experienced professionals who are now out of work.

"At my age I am not entitled to receive benefits of any kind and I don't appear on the unemployment statistics. Yet I am expected to get myself a job.

"As part of the lost generation I don't in reality get any support, guidance or assistance from the government. We are left in a situation of no hope and have only our parents to support us financially."

Although Jessica's mother is still employed, but in the vulnerable public sector, her father was made redundant last June when Rank Xerox closed its doors in Mitcheldean.

"I just can't see when this situation will improve. I have good exam results, I want to work somewhere and I look for jobs every day. I just want to get a start."