The number of university graduates turning to careers in the casino industry has increased by 200 per cent over the past 12 months, according to research.
Hundreds of graduates are re-training as croupiers and hostesses amid unprecedented competition for work and looming cuts in the public sector.
Many graduated with first-class degrees in medicine, law, architecture and veterinary science, but were unable to land professional or managerial jobs.
The opportunity of an immediate start in the burgeoning gaming is, they say, a ”no brainer” given the impact of the recession on graduate recruitment.
The figures were released this week by the London Academy of Gaming following months of bleak reports on the graduate job market.
The Academy guarantees a job within the casino sector to those who enrol (subject to a successful interview) on their five-week croupier training courses, with a money back guarantee of the ‘job placement fees’.
Spokesperson Karen Taylor said becoming a croupier has become “highly attractive” to suitable graduates keen to avoid the dole queue.
She said: “We are receiving more and more applications from graduates for our croupier courses and considering how bleak the economic climate is right now, that’s not surprising. We have received an overwhelming response of over 700 enquiries over the last eight weeks.
“Working in a casino may not be seen as a traditional graduate-level position, but it does require high standards of customer relations, grooming, calculus and the student being in receipt of a Personal Functional Licence (which the academy will assist all there students with). In return they are offered a good salary.
“For many graduates it’s a perfect career move. Aside from the good money and flexible hours, there is potential for moving up the career ladder and working abroad.”
Figures released earlier this month showed that one in three graduates is on the dole or working in stopgap jobs such as stacking shelves or pouring pints.
Nearly 20,000 of last year’s graduates – one in ten 10 – were unemployed six months after leaving university, up from eight per cent in 2008.
A further 50,000 failed to land graduate-level posts and resorted to roles for which they are likely to be over-qualified, working as secretaries, waiters, bar staff and factory employees.
Only 40 per cent managed to land professional or managerial jobs, with the remainder studying a higher degree full-time, working abroad or describing themselves as ‘unavailable for work’, possibly because of gap years.
”The impact of the proposed cuts could be sufficient to have a profound effect on the labour market for new graduates,” said Charlie Ball, of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit
”It is possible that the next four years could be the toughest for new graduates ever.”
The Academy, based in Islington, central London, was founded by Karen Taylor, Steve Alexander & Domenic Versace. The croupier training course costs £1,750 plus an additional £200 for the job placement fee which will be returned if they cannot place you in employment, Karen said “up to now we have never had to return the £200 as we have placed every candidate”. Candidates are trained to the highest standard required by London casinos in American Roulette, Blackjack and 3 Card Poker.
They also have to successfully complete a “Table Test” in a London Casino before receiving their qualification.
No formal qualifications are needed, but trainees must have “reasonable” mental arithmetic skills and ”impeccable grooming”.
Koby Ko, 27, graduated from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, last year.
She said: “I am currently in my final week of the croupier training course at London Academy of Gaming, This course is amazing, they not only taught me to become a croupier but also taught me about casino security, and customer service.
“I felt that my degree in ‘Hospitality Management’ wasn’t enough to get into the hospitality industry, by becoming a croupier, would not only give me a career for life but give me very good management prospects within these large UK casino groups”
Though the average starting wage of a croupier is £16,000 to £18,000 per annum plus tips – Karen says there is “serious potential” for extra income through generous tips.
“Some of our ex-students receive over £500 in tips per month after big wins at the table,” she added.
There is always chance for promotion for ambitious employees in the casino industry which is encouraged by management.
More information: visit www.londongaming.co.uk or call 0845 056 8521