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August 3, 2014 | by  | in Homepage News |
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Students: Jobless, Searching

Students at Victoria are earning less from SJS, with fewer students enrolling in the service and fewer job placements.

Data released by SJS shows nearly a 20 per cent drop in new student enrolments in the first six months of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.

This is matched by a four per cent drop in job placements, a six per cent drop in money earned and a nine per cent drop in worker weeks.

The decreases are in keeping with the trend from last year, which also saw a drop in placements and new enrolments. In the first six months of 2012, SJS got 2063 Victoria students jobs; this year, that has decreased to 1905. Similarly, new enrolments have dropped from 2412 to 1786.

High earnings from 2013 have disappeared, going from $5.5 million in the first half 2013 to $5.18 million. This is still a significant increase on the 2012 period where students earned $4.23 million.

VUWSA welfare vice president, Rick Zwaan, said the data was concerning.

“The data reinforces that students are finding it hard to get a job, and if they do get one, they’re earning less. Student Loan living costs or Allowances are simply not enough to live on. Until there are better student-support policies in place, it’s crucial that there are enough well-paid part-time jobs available for students so we have enough to get by and focus on our study.”

The drops come as SJS considers constitutional changes, including opening up membership to groups other than students’ associations.

SJS has historically been free to use for all students at university who are affiliated with a member students’ association – in Victoria’s case, this is VUWSA.

However, following discussion at the SJS Special General Meeting (SGM) in June, SJS is considering constitutional changes.

The changes are in response to declining SJS membership “as the number of Students’ Associations declines (e.g. winding up of some small associations) and functions traditionally associated with students’ associations are being taken over and delivered through other mechanisms.”

“At the same time, students have increasing access to alternative online employment services (e.g. Trade Me, Seek) although these are not tailored specifically for the needs of students.”

Students spoken to by Salient said SJS was useful for cash-in-hand jobs, but they wouldn’t use it if they were seeking a permanent job. One student cited employer’s anonymity as a deterrent – “you don’t know what you’re applying for.”

However, other students said they had had success using the service, and one student had gotten a job teaching rugby in Asia through SJS.

Student job-seekers can find SJS online at sjs.co.nz.

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