Life no longer a beach for students

Student groups argue that a shortage of summer jobs might lead to a rise in the drop-out rate...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The days of students picking strawberries and serving up knickerbocker glories by the seaside may be numbered. The National Union of Students warns that the downturn has resulted in a shortage of summer jobs – which may prompt an increase in the number of university drop-outs. Not ideal for the long-term future of Britain's managerial class...

Some 2.4m British students are thought to be looking for jobs this summer, and many rely heavily on the income earned during the next few months to fund their studies (not to mention their hedonistic lifestyles) for the rest of the academic year. However, as credit-crunched businesses shed staff, the NUS reckons that summer jobs are becoming few and far between. Casual workers may be cheaper to hire and easier to fire, but there's clearly a lot less work to go around at the minute. 

There’s no doubt that young people – including debt-saddled students – are really suffering in the labour market slowdown. According to recent government figures, the number of under-25s out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance has shot up by 200,000 over the past 12 months to hit 450,000. And it’s not just Britain that’s struggling: in Massachusetts in America, the percentage of teens with jobs is reportedly now at the lowest level since World War II.

How things have changed for the class of 2009 compared with their predecessors, who skipped deftly from one position to the next, all the while piling up debts with a ‘buy now, pay later’ mentality. In the post credit-crunch world, it’s a very different story. These days, students need to be extremely quick off the mark to bag themselves a summer job. Of the dwindling number up for grabs, most were snared in April and May, during which time most students would have been indulging in some credit-crunching of their own – attending ‘pound a pint’ nights down at the student union. 

One organisation looking to fill the gap is Career Academies, a charity that arranges internships with the likes of BP, Bain and Morgan Stanley for about 800 16-19 year olds from 'diverse urban backgrounds'. They do get paid for their troubles, and there's more available this year than ever before - although apparently not all the companies concerned have been able to pay them the full whack this time round. But at least it means students get to earn a bit of cash, while gathering the kind of business skills and contacts that will come in handy further down the line...

Click HERE to read MT's recent feature on the new white-collar unemployed - including a 24- and a 25-year-old...

In today's bulletin:

UK economy suffers biggest slump in 50 years
Aston Martin bargain - £20k in 2010
Life no longer a beach for students
Nick Hood: A chill breeze of recession in the Windy City
'35 Under 35' in focus: The risk-takers

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