Young people are getting pushed out of summer part-time jobs

‘I’ve lost £600 in cut shifts’

When Manchester graduate Tim returned home to rural Suffolk, he was ready to take up work at a pub he’d worked in for years, but he soon discovered the job wasn’t there for him. “There’s literally no work that isn’t care on the jobsites,” he says. “Too many unemployed graduates living with their parents I expect.”

Tim’s situation is not a unique one. As businesses across the country lay off thousands of employees, students are being squeezed out the kind of summer jobs they use to finance their lives. It’s a tough blow for a generation whose university experience has been wrecked by the pandemic and whose graduation prospects look very grim indeed.

Manchester graduate Tim

“I’ve lost about £600 worth of cut shifts because they’ve been cut or cancelled entirely,” says Cardiff grad Grace, who usually works in a school uniform shop. “We’re doing an appointment only system so the days are quiet af. I’m moving out in a month so obvs losing shifts is not great for my savings.” Grace admits she’s lucky – she has parents who can support her, but being out of pocket after finishing a master’s in lockdown is a depressing reality.

St Andrews grad Georgia says she’s been struggling to sleep because of the stress of having nothing to do. Her part-time job as a lifeguard would normally keep her busy all summer, but the pool was closed and no furlough was offered. “Now I just browse Depop and feel sorry for myself,” she says.  Georgia’s currently applying for jobs, and has high hopes for the interviews she’s had, but says the boredom is getting to her. “I’ve had a job since I was 16. This is the longest time I’ve ever been unemployed since then. It’s also really lonely, like, all my friends are far away or also stuck at home.”

Grace is finishing her master’s at Cardiff

The impact on the hospitality industry has been well-documented. Irene, a stadium steward, says she was handed her P45 after her employers cut all but an eighth of the staff. “Normally there would be 80+ of us and some agency staff because we never had enough of our own but then because there’s no crowds they only need 15 or so people and they emailed us to say that because they don’t know when the next season will start so they cant keep us on.”

King’s grad Eirian usually works at an event staffing company, which furloughed its full-time staff. The weddings Eirian would normally work at were cancelled and the 40 hour weeks she used to work dried up. “It was so hard to find another job in my area it took about two months for vacancies to open when pubs opened so it was very frustrating.”

King’s grad Eirian

Dione is a Warwick student who has been working for a theme park for four years. “I had a job offer to come back, was all signed up and about to have induction in a month’s time and they withdrew it start of pandemic,” she says. “I’d not been looking for any other jobs because I thought I was secure – they expected us to want to come back year on year, and they often made a show of being good to their staff, so to suddenly be dropped without warning was a bit of a shitty move.”

Whether they’re grads or current students, the future is looking incredibly bleak for young people. They’re paying full price for more online teaching, entering a job market with an ever-dwindling number of opportunities, and, as Georgia says: “We don’t have the money to go anywhere and you don’t even see people at work.”

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Featured image by Debora Pilati on Unsplash