A drop in the amount of summer work gained by Dunedin
tertiary students reflects tough times, but the situation has
been worsened by increased competition from postgraduate
students after funding cuts, student leaders say.
Otago University Students' Association president Francisco
Hernandez said recent student job enrolments, seeking
part-time work during study, were up 24%, to 724, on the
comparable period early last year.
But the number of students recently placed in work, through
Student Job Search, had dropped 15% from the corresponding
period last year.
And the overall number of ''weeks worked'' had also fallen 4%
- from 3609 to 3449 - during the past few months, compared
with the previous equivalent period.
''With figures getting lower during January and February, we
are concerned at the lack of available jobs to supplement the
already limited incomes available to students.''
Reduced job placements partly reflected tougher economic
times, but he was also worried many postgraduate students,
previously supported by student allowances, were having to
seek part-time work during term-time.
This followed a Government move, which took effect on January
1 this year, to end student allowances for postgraduate
''More students are needing extra work after postgraduate
student allowance cuts,'' he said.
Problems faced by postgraduate students and other
work-related student woes should be ''definitely an area of
concern for everyone in Dunedin'', he said.
Given the economic importance to Dunedin of the city's
tertiary education industry, city residents should be
concerned if students were discouraged from continuing their
studies, if part-time work became too hard to find.
The association still hoped the Government would consider
providing ''grandparenting'' transitional support for
postgraduates who had begun their studies before allowance
cuts were made.
Otago students who had found work through the job search
organisation were earning an average of 11% more than in the
previous year, but that was the only positive news.
More students needed to find work to continue their studies
and ''our greatest fear is that even with a free job service
there won't be the jobs there for them.''