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News Release: Students head towards another jobless summer
Calgary – University of Calgary students are finished their classes and writing their exams but don’t yet know what the next few months hold for them as they prepare for the summer. Many students work through the summer to save money for tuition, textbooks, and their living expenses. However, this year the pandemic and a lack of support from the provincial government once again means many won’t find work and will go further into debt.
Last summer nearly one-third of UCalgary students surveyed said they couldn’t find work at all, with another twelve per cent saying they had opportunities cancelled at the last minute due to the pandemic. This scenario is very likely to repeat itself this summer unless the UCP government steps up.
“In less than two weeks students will be done exams. Students want to work and we know many employers want to hire, both sides just need a little help. At a time when students are paying more thanks to provincial cuts and resulting skyrocketing tuition, students are also being left out in the cold when it comes to finding a job.” – Frank Finley, SU President
For the last year, the Students’ Union has called on the provincial government to implement a student-focused job program to support both students and employers. These calls have fallen on deaf ears. No provincial support for students was identified in the Alberta budget and federal support for student jobs is very limited. Many employers simply can’t afford to hire summer students or new grads thanks to the pandemic, but that could change with provincial financial support.
The Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) was cancelled by the UCP government in 2019. STEP provided a wage subsidy to employers to incentivize the hiring of students or new grads for the summer months. This program supported thousands of students to work, pay their bills, and gain skills and work experience they need for after graduation.
The SU has called for STEP to be re-implemented or a similar program created. The SU has called on both Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping and Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides to bring in a program.
The SU renews its call on the UCP government to take action on the student jobs crisis. Students can’t afford two consecutive summers without work.
Media inquiries may be directed to:
External Communications Specialist
University of Calgary Students’ Union