No jobs leave students scrambling

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BY JELENA DJURKIC

Hailey Easton is frustrated. The fourth-year child and youth care student spent the entire summer looking for a job in her field. After sending out 20 resumes, only two potential employers called her back. Two interviews later, Easton was still jobless. “They said it was because of a lack of experience. How are students supposed to get into the field out of school when they don’t have the same experience as someone in it?” Eventually, Easton began applying for jobs outside her field. “I branched off looking for basically anything I could get,” she said. This summer, students across the country found themselves with similar summer job woes. According to Statistics Canada, the student unemployment rate rose to 20.9 per cent in July, the second highest level since 1977 — a seven per cent jump from last year. The average hours worked by students was at a record low, at only 23.4 hours a week. Ishnoor Baidwan, a second-year business management student, sent out 15 job applications at the beginning of summer. Like Easton, he received only two responses. Baidwan eventually found a position at a warehouse. It paid $11 per hour but lasted only one week. With a tuition bill over $4,500, his summer job hardly helped with his educational expenses. After a summer of plummeting job prospects, Ryerson has seen a 10 per cent increase in financial aid applications this year. The dwindling summer job market was “likely a contributing factor,” said Carole Scrase, manager of student financial assistance. Cash-crunched students can look to Ryerson for help. According to Scrase, the $15.5 million in financial assistance doled out this year will allow Ryerson hire more students and assure student bursaries, awards and scholarships from endowed funds. With the new school year underway, Easton found work as a sales associate at Aerie, a lingerie store. On top of that, she’s taken on another job as a bartender/usher at the Harbourfront Centre — a position she found through friends. “That helped,” said Easton. “It’s not in my field and I think someone in the industry would have been more qualified.” Philip Lim, director of the career development and employment centre said, “Networking is key. When young people think of jobs, they think of the Internet. It only has an effectiveness rate of seven per cent.” He also recommends using Ryerson’s work study program to find jobs on campus. Out of 800 positions offered this year, 580 are still available, said Lim. Meanwhile, Easton has an interview coming up for a residential treatment program, a job related to her field. She’s unsure of whether she’ll be able to drop one of her existing jobs. “It’s really tough, it puts me in a really hard position where I have to put that many more hours in,” said Easton. Despite the discouraging summer job hunt, she remains optimistic. “Hopefully after this interview, things will change.”

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