Calgary

Post-secondary students turn to 'survival jobs' as youth unemployment rises

Thousands of university students are struggling to find summer jobs this year as the rate of youth unemployment in Alberta climbs to its highest level in five years.

Alberta's sluggish economy means fewer career-specific summer jobs for university students

At a recent job fair at the U of C, the number of companies recruiting fell by 10 per cent, while twice as many students looking for jobs attended over the previous year. (CBC)

Thousands of university students are struggling to find summer jobs this year as the rate of youth unemployment in Alberta climbs to its highest level in five years.

The youth unemployment rate continues to increase — reaching 10 per cent in February — while the number of jobs available is on the decline.

Colleen Bangs, manager of Career Services at the University of Calgary, says there are still jobs — they just might not be related to a student's careers path.

"The reality is that some people will have to work in survival jobs. And get additional experience in the hours outside of those survival jobs," she said.

"And that is a tough pill to swallow. But in this province we've experienced this cycle before and it won't last forever. But the approach just has to be a little different right now," she said. "But people will figure this out. They always do."

First-year student Hashim Ahmed has one of those survival jobs.

"I do have a summer job. I work retail at Tommy Hilfiger."

Bangs says a recent job fair at the U of C reflected the tough economic times.

The number of companies recruiting fell by 10 per cent, but there were twice as many students looking for jobs over the previous year.

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