A quick idea: simple national subsidy of transport costs for accredited creative graduates / underemployed creative talent, in order to attend events / conferences / free training workshops / expos. The aim would be to boost their employment prospects.

* The recruitment process needn’t be lumberingly bureaucratic. Skillset or Creative England might simply appoint regional panels of leading creative business people. They would be asked to allocate pairs who would make anonymous visits to the June art & design graduation shows, to quietly (and without being “chatted up”, and with each other half of the pair acting as a moderator in that respect) collect the details of those whose work is obviously outstanding and has commercial appeal. The pairing could be with business people who don’t yet know each other well, so as to offer a networking benefit to those who are offering their time as selectors. Graduating students who are selected would later be contacted and invited to apply for a one-year travel pass on graduation, if they have no current employment or Masters prospects set up. This would also be a huge incentive for students to actually have their contact details affixed to their stands / booths etc, which even today they often omit.

* Taking a one-day ‘business awareness’ workshop/masterclass could be a prerequisite for getting the travel pass.

* The passes need not cost the taxpayer. The same model as the recent firm-sponsored package at StartUp Britain could be used. It would seem to be little skin off the nose of the national coach and rail firms to nationally offer 500 talented people an occasional spare seat for free outside of the morning rush-hour. The publicity benefits might outweigh the admin costs of printing secure one-year passes and notifying their staff of the scheme. The events industry could also come on board here, perhaps offering last-minute “£5 tickets” to those who quality for the travel pass, for events where the organisers think they’re going to have some spare seats on the day.

Why might this be needed? Surely the best graduates go straight into jobs? Well, Kate Oakley’s research — undertaken before the recession hit and published in 2008 — looked at alumni and graduates from the UK’s University of the Arts. 30% of them were found to have an income below £10,000 per year, and these were not necessarily only those who got a poor degree classification.