Slow start in student employment search

After a ''tough'' year for Dunedin tertiary student job-seekers in 2013, with overall student earnings dropping by $700,000, this year has also started slowly.

The Otago University Students' Association said student earnings overall through Student Job Search in Otago had last year fallen about 8.6%, to about $7.4 million, from $8.1 million the previous year.

Earnings had also fallen slightly, to $1,551,971, during the first two months of this year, from $1,569,297 in January-February last year.

Average earnings per student over January-February fell about 6%, from $1976 to $1865 over the comparable period last year.

OUSA president Ruby Sycamore-Smith said Otago student allowances income had also fallen after recent government policy changes.

She was concerned ''further reductions in student allowance availability'' meant more students would ''need to work to make up the difference''.

Tertiary education was ''a right for all'', and support was needed for those who did not have the time to work, ''on top of study''.

After three years of Student Job Search earning rises in Otago and a peak of $8.1 million in 2012, there had been a ''significant decrease'' in student jobs and income.

It was still early in the year, but if latest figures mirrored previous trends, she said fewer students would be able to find work ''when they need it''.