Unemployment down, but students still struggling to find work

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Langara students who want to work appear to be struggling to find jobs, even though statistics show employment is on the rise.

B.C.’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 per cent in December 2013, down 0.2 per cent compared to December 2012, according to Statistics Canada.

The job market may be looking up, but from what I’ve seen and experienced, student employment is harder to come by.

What can be done?

Langara holds workshops to teach students what to expect in an interview and to help students learn how to write resumes and dress for the business world.

But there doesn’t seem to be a workshop on how to find a job with an already busy schedule of school and other activities.

What is the main reason students can’t find employment?

For every person, there are different reasons as to why they are not successful. School five days a week and an activity or two. Shops hiring those of similar ethnicity or fluent in the same language. Not having enough experience that employers are looking for. Applying for a position too late.

A long search

In my case, I spent nearly two years looking for a part-time job before landing one at my local Safeway.

I was lucky because I had volunteered there the year before. The lady in charge of the event remembered me and told me her store was hiring.

Employment workshops, although well intended, aren’t going to cut it.

At one point, I went to a career-counselling centre for a year, but it was like hitting a brick wall.

More needs to be done to help students land the jobs they want.

Getting the “real” job

Yes, students can have interview skills and well-written resumes, and they can learn to dress for the workplace, but those things will only take them so far. They need to learn how to read the signs that people will be hiring soon or that the window of opportunity is closing.

They need to find a way to get their foot in the door and gain the work experience needed for the “real” jobs they want.

We’re not studying at Langara so that we can work at Starbucks or Safeway for the rest of our lives.

Reported by Erin Boe

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