The job hunt continues to be a challenge for Western Bay's unemployed, as latest figures reveal a rise in unemployment.
For Alice Campbell, finding a job has been virtually impossible and she has been left feeling frustrated, upset and disappointed.
The Tauranga woman spent most of last year searching for a job that would follow on from her three-year Bachelor of Counselling degree.
"I'm young, qualified, hard-working and very keen but there's just no work," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.
"I thought I would be snapped up but I've had to start working for myself and I have to live at home. It's really tough."
The 27-year-old graduated from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute at the beginning of 2012 and took a six-month position in Melbourne. She returned to Tauranga in April last year and thought her skills and overseas experience would give her an edge over others. But the lack of jobs in her field has forced her to apply for other roles outside her expertise.
She has found temporary work as a relief teacher at a childcare centre but wants a full-time position as a councillor.
"I'm sorting out problems with playdough but I really want to be sorting out bigger problems," she said.
"It makes me so upset because I've spent so long at university, I've upskilled myself and there's nothing out there. I can't believe it has taken this long and I still haven't got a job."
Miss Campbell has applied for jobs in Tauranga, Nelson and Auckland. She is considering moving overseas for work.
A local recruitment company owner said the unemployment rate in the Western Bay was "extremely high".
Claudia Nelson of The Right Staff said most candidates were struggling to find jobs, and the roles that were available were "specialist positions" that very few people would fill.
"There seems to be an oversupply of people which means employers can be extremely fussy with who they take on. In buoyant economic times, employers can accept that they have to train someone and it takes time whereas now they can be reasonably fussy."