Autocar is running a competition for young people, with the prize of five work experience placements, £7500 cash – and the near-certainty of a good job in the car industry at the end of it.

The competition is timely, given that the majority of people in work believe that it is now much harder for young people to enter the job market than it was when they joined.

"What is interesting to see within these results is that the older age group really feel it is much harder for younger people to join the job market now. The general trend is that the older people tend to think the youngsters have never had it so easy, but this really highlights just how tough it is for young people to get their foot on the career ladder," commented Jim Holder, Autocar editor.

The 2012 winner will be rewarded with a priceless work experience package comprising one month at each of the contest sponsors – Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Peugeot, Skoda and Toyota – as well as £7500 cash.

To enter the competition, students need to answer in 500 words a brief set by Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley and submit their entry via the Autocar-Courland Next Generation website by 31 August 2012.

The six best entrants will attend a judging day at the home of Autocar, where they will have the chance to present their ideas to a panel of leading industry executives. Three finalists will be invited to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' annual dinner on 27 November, where the winner will be announced.