If you’ve ventured outdoors just about anywhere in Britain over the past few weeks, the chances are you’ve seen some familiar signs of the season. Hollow-eyed undergrads bulk-buying Red Bull. Cafés full of teenage girls clutching gel pens like talismans. Parks crowded with library refugees, huddled together among blankets and books. It’s that time of year again: the exams are here.
In the coming months, 350,000 UK graduates will take their first, intrepid steps into the job market. Compared with the past six years, things are looking up for the Class of 2014; many graduate jobs, killed off by the economic downturn, have been resuscitated, along with a record number of paid internships. Perhaps for the first time since the crash, bright young grads choosing a career path can afford to feel optimistic about their prospects.
But how to choose this path? For those primarily interested in money or prestige, this might be a comparatively easy question; a plethora of high-profile career-fair-botherers from the legal, accounting, financial and management consultancy sectors offer attractive packages for graduates. But for the growing number of young idealists that want to make the world a better place – or at least not to make it any worse – it’s a trickier one to answer.