Students and young people struggle to get part-time jobs due to Covid-19

Unpaid intern work is common nowadays as students fight for experience. Credit: Sabrine Donohoe

Last year 63% of students had part-time jobs, however only 36% are expected to have a job in the next academic year as less business are hiring.

According to figures obtained by the CSO, half of people aged under 24 in Ireland are unemployed and more than half aged 18-24 who were working before the pandemic are now unemployed and claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Food and retail sectors, the two most popular industries for students who are working part-time, have experienced the highest level of job losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Economic and Social Research Institute economist, Dr Barra Roantree told the Irish Times that the scale of job losses is “astronomical and young people are bearing the brunt.”

There are financial concerns among students not receiving the Covid-19 support payment and those unable to get part-time jobs. Many are worried they will not be able to pay for the next academic year.

DIT student Gillian Evans is concerned about how she will afford to pay rent next year.

“I’m going into my final year and I was planning on moving up to Dublin, but without a job or any income over the next few months it won’t be possible to save for it.”

She said she is struggling to find a job as very few places are hiring.

Many students rely on part-time jobs to pay for college fees and accommodation as well as other annual expenses such as food, travel, books, clothes, a social life and they are worried they will not be able to pay for these expenses in the coming academic year.

The president of the Union of Students Lorna Fitzpatrick said the Covid-19 lock down created uncertainty for students who are about to graduate and those who rely on summer jobs to pay for fees and accommodation may be at risk of dropping out.

“Students need to be supported by the Government. We have heard many students considering deferrals for next year because of financial concerns, many would have earned more than €350 per week over the summer.”

She called on Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty to do more to help students.

Shauna Ledwidge

Image Credit: Sabrine O’Donohue