Summer jobs are a rapidly diminishing commodity. What's in store for Mac students?

Amy Thackeray

The Silhouette


Employment is an essential part of student’s life in either high school or in post-secondary education. In high school, students try to obtain part-time jobs in order to save money for their future university fees. Post-secondary students mostly seek full-time summer employment because they need to support themselves and be able to keep up with the upcoming demanding fees for their education.

The student employment rate has been decreasing, which poses a threat to the future of students planning to attend a post-secondly institution. Obtaining some form of employment can be an ultimatum for some students, because without that income they cannot afford to go to school.

Students every year search to find summer employments that will help them survive the payments associated with university. However, the unemployment rates have been rising for students attending post-secondary schools and high school. According to statistics Canada, the unemployment rate over the summer months for students aged 15 to 24 was 17.2%, up from 16.9% the year before. The 0.3% increase may not seem as substantial increase of unemployment, but that little increase indicates there are fewer students able to get jobs, and therefore fewer students able to afford post-secondary schools.

If unemployment rate continues to increase each year, then more and more students will not be able to attend post-secondary education each year. As a result, students may have to resort to borrowing money from banks or the government. The increase in tuition fees associated with high loans imposes a financial burden on students after graduation to repay their loans, and thus leads to lower saving rates. Therefore, the increase in unemployment has a long-lasting consequence for students.

As a student, I understand the hardship students go through in order to obtain summer jobs. Before attending post-secondary education, I went through a lot in order to obtain a summer job. I had a lot of pressure from my parents to obtain summer employment and I put a lot of energy into the job hunt, but I failed several times. Finally, I gained a job that was two hours away from my home. I worked as a house and grounds keeper at a cottage, and came home every weekend in order to see my family and friends. The only reason I received the job was because I had connections where I worked, or otherwise I would have been unemployed and forced to attend post-secondary school with no saved money. Thankfully, I am of the select few that have parents who are able to support my education fees, but most students do not have that luxury.

As students become more desperate for employment, many seem to point the blame at companies for not having student employment opportunities available, but these companies are trying to make money in this hard economy as well.

A solution is needed that will make an impact on student employment. The government has made some efforts to address student unemployment, but clearly they are not enough, because there seems to be an increase in student unemployment.

Instead of placing blame, a cohesive plan is needed that will assist student employment, and thus make attending school more feasible. Employing students is only going to help the government in the long run, so I do not see why finding a solution would be such an issue. I think that post-secondary schools should do their part to help students receive jobs and give them more opportunities to learn skills that would help their job search. Many students do not receive jobs because they do not know how to skillfully handle interviews. All in all, there are many things that can be done in order to help students that want to get an education and have better lives for themselves, and I suggest we take action now.

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