An Ashtead fine arts graduate who was won national prizes with his art work cannot even get a job as a street cleaner.

The credit crunch means that interviews are few and far between and job offers are non-existent.

Tom Hurley, 24, cures his job seeker’s depression by retreating into his studio built in the garden of his home in Crampshaw Lane and working on his latest landscape in readiness for an exhibition planned for this summer.

Part of his problem is that he is honest and open with potential employers.

He suffers from a very mild form of Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism that can affect social interaction and can make the sufferer appear slightly naive but rather rigid.

But according to the Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation people with the syndrome are more likely to be honest, reliable, dedicated and determined than others.

As a student he held down a part time job and was conscientious and reliable but his track record seems to be no help in getting a job.

But whatever the reason, Tom, in spite of numerous applications for a variety of jobs including street cleaner, remains unemployed but determined to carry on his search.

“During this period I am finding it very hard to get a job.

"I am starting a MA in September and I need to earn some money. I haven’t had any successful interviews but I am going to go on looking.

“I have had experience of cleaning and I thought I could have done something like that but I can’t even get a job doing that.

His mother Janet Hurley said: “ The lowest point for him was when he applied for a job as a street cleaner and didn’t even get a call back. It made him very despondent.

“If people have a difficulty it is rather sad that so many people will not give you any time.

"For art he can observe very closely and his concentration and attention to detail is phenomenal but unfortunately there are not many jobs in the art world.”

His exhibition will be held at Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall on June 11 from 7pm to 10pm and June 12 from 2pm to 10pm.

If anyone can offer Tom a job interview please email for emails to be forwarded on to him.

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