Wednesday, 26 October 2011

One of our local supermarkets

has a policy of employing students wherever possible. While it means constant training and turnover of staff management sees it as a means of giving young people much needed employment while studying. Rosters are fitted around lectures and at examination times the senior staff will fill in on the checkouts. A good reference from there also helps employment prospects in other places. It is, I understand, all quite civilised and competition for employment there is fierce.
Competition for employment in other places is fierce too. I met one of the former student-employees yesterday. I read a number of his essays in his first year when he was struggling to understand what was required of him. He has finished his degree and is doing some post-graduate work part time. He is also working.
He gets up at 5:30am and leaves the house at just after 6:00am.Using public transport he travels to a location on the other side of the city and arrives for an 8:00am start. He arrives home again just after 7:00pm. He does this four days a week and on the other day he attends university. His weekends are spent doing university work and writing job applications. There has not been much time for anything else. It as been a tough year.
What has made it even harder is that he is trying to find paid employment. He is not being paid for the work he is doing. He is getting the government benefit for a job seeker. It barely covers his day-to-day living expenses.
When I spoke to him he was feeling more than a little fed-up. His place of "employment" had been a bit difficult about the time off he needed to do an exam related to his post-graduate work. He did get the time off but it was made clear that they regarded it as a nuisance. That however was now the least of his worries. There are two positions available where he has been working. They are both reserved for "new graduates". He has been told he is not even eligible to apply. He is not a "new graduate". The positions will be given to students graduating at the end of this year.
Yes, this is a government department. The "rules" are "strictly" applied. Where is Sir Humphrey Appleby when you need him?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where indeed? Bob C-S