Young artists are naturally full of optimism. After all, they are pursuing their dreams, and if they don't believe in themselves, goodness knows it's an uphill battle making others have faith. Perhaps it is no surprise therefore that 90% of jewellery students are "confident of finding employment in the creative sector" within a year.\r\n\r\nThis figure could probably have been predicted, when you consider that the survey was conducted by the organisers of the New Designers exhibition - could you conceivably pick a more enthusiastic crowd of young jewellery makers to ask survey questions about their future?\r\n\r\nI'm never one to be a harbinger of bad news, but I think it is worth pointing out that this optimism needs to be tempered with no-punches-pulled advice from the industry's more experienced hands about economic reality. Creative industries are competitive because they are vastly over-subscribed, and to compete effectively - and ultimately succeed - is to be one of the best in your generation at whatever craft you are pursuing. Only the biggest egos could have total conviction that this describes them.\r\n\r\nThere genuinely isn't room for everybody, and being 'a good designer' isn't enough. The numerous designers and manufacturers I interview have one attitude in common: you need to do your years at the bench before you can have any reasonable expectation of success. Producing a beautiful one-off pendant that takes four months to make is not going to pay the bills, and only experience can build 'speed' into your skillset.\r\n\r\nThis isn't doom and gloom, it's just realism. Students should remember that if 90% of their peers are confident of getting a job, then individually they've got a lot of very determined competition to beat.