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EDITIONS
 Monday, 4 March, 2002, 00:49 GMT
Getting students to work
student working in bar
More and more students are working part-time
Ministers are being told that if they want students to work their way through college they will have to do more to help them find decent jobs.

University job shops which have sprung up in the past few years are reporting record business, with more and more students looking for work.

At Edinburgh University, between about 50 to 100 students file into the job shop every day looking for jobs to help them make ends meet.

The job shop - officially known as the student employment service - puts employers in touch with students and also gives students advice on work and their rights.

Margaret Hodge should be concerned about students working

Olwen Gorie, National Association of Student Employment Staff
Olwen Gorie, manager of the Edinburgh service, said it had seen a massive increase in inquiries from students.

"We have seen demand from students grow from approximately 1,750 students in 1996/97, when the service began, to 7,164 students in 2000/01 and the figures are still rising," she said.

There are about 100 university student employment services in the UK, with staff usually funded by the university or business sponsors.

Ms Gorie is an executive member of the umbrella group of university job shops - the National Association of Student Employment Staff (Nases).

She says if ministers expect students to work their way through college, they should help them.

More funds

Last week the higher education minister Margaret Hodge said she was happy about students working part-time as long as their studies did not suffer.

Ms Gorie said: "Margaret Hodge should be concerned about students working.

"If student employment is to be central to the government's package of student support then the government needs to provide the resources so that students benefit from their working experiences," she said.

"Student employment services are greatly in need of funding to enable them to meet the increasing demand from students. "

I live with four girls and all of us have part-time jobs

Emma Wolfson, student
This week Nases is running national student employment week to draw attention to the work of the job shops.

The job centres advise students to work no more than15 hours a week in term time, so their studies do not suffer.

A study carried out by Edinburgh's employment centre last year found that many students (19%) were working in fields such as hospitality and catering.

About 15% were doing office work, with a similar number doing work related to their courses, such as computing or teaching languages.

Good skills

Emma Wolfson, 22, has worked part-time throughout her studies at Edinburgh University, normally for eight hours a week.

"Working helps financially, obviously. I expect to graduate with a 10,000 debt," she said.

"I also think the experience will help me get the job I want after my finals."

She is currently working in the job shop, where she says she has picked up good skills in computing and communication.

She says students have all kinds of jobs, from office work to dressing up in costumes to publicise films.

"I live with four girls and all of us have part-time jobs."

See also:

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