Pete, 21, from Preston, who asked for his surname not to be used, said he has been forced to become a self-employed car cleaner after struggling to find a job for three years.
He earns between £150 and £200 a week – lower than the £243.75 he would earn as a minimum wage on a standard 37.5-hour contract.
He said: “I’ve struggled to find any kind of work since finishing my mechanics course at college because people want experience and I don’t have it.
“I don’t think the Job Centre helped me at all to find a job, and after applying for anything I could, all I got was one interview in a year.
“There’s been times that I’ve had nothing and had to heavily depend on other people and have wracked up debts.”
Pete was also hit with a two-week sanction on his Job Seeker’s Allowance for not spending enough time looking for jobs – but he claims he was in hospital.
“That’s how ridiculous it is”, he said. “So the only option left to me was to try being self-employed.
“I don’t earn a lot but it’s enough to keep me going.”