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Page last updated at 06:16 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 07:16 UK
Faces of the recession

Today reporter Sanchia Berg has been following the lives of four people who have been made redundant and are looking for work. She reports on good news from one of them: architect Lucy Bennett.

Shaun FenwickAlan SouthAlison HindmarchLucy Bennett

The number of architects claiming benefits has risen by 760% in a year.

Some of the biggest names in the industry are making people redundant - and yet the architect who was being followed by the Today programme has got a job.

Lucy Bennett, who's 30, had taken redundancy in September last year. After applying for hundreds of jobs without success, using up all her savings, she had been getting ready to move back to her parents' home in Edinburgh to save money. She was considering setting up her own practice.

But now she's landed a job with a firm in London who specialise in public sector work.

"It was just the most amazing relief. I just couldn't stop smiling, and I still can't stop smiling...it's wonderful," she says.

Lucy says she feels very lucky. Her new employer has been inundated with CVs - hundreds of people applied for the post, which was advertised online.

Age: 30
Last employment: Architect
Debt: Paid off student debt
12 months plan: Set up on her own

At the moment, she feels secure, she says there's plenty of work coming into the office. This sector - schools, hospitals, public works - is the only part of the construction industry still busy.

Lucy described herself before as part of the "credit generation" - living for the moment, not worrying too much about the future. She says that's all changed: she won't go back to her "luxurious" former life, and she'll put money aside.

But she says it's great to be able to socialise again. "To be able to take my friends out and buy them a drink is one of the nicest feelings," she says.

So far she's the only one of the four "faces of recession" to be offered a job.


Faces of the recession: Lucy Bennett


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