Catch 22 for Students Seeking Employment

Many students leaving university are finding themselves in a catch 22 situation when it comes to gaining employment; they need a job to get experience but many jobs are asking for experience before hiring new graduates. 

According to Ms Leanna Byrne, former Communications Officer for Trinity College Students’ Union, “students are leaving university and because some courses don’t necessarily have work experience built into the syllabus this is causing huge difficulties for students when they seek employment. 

“Because then they have to spend a year at least going around from job to job interning here and there and everywhere, just to get some experience. The difficulty comes for those who don’t have family in Dublin and need to pay for accommodation while receiving little in the way of wages,” explained Ms Byrne. 

“They have to be either funded by their parents or eat into their savings if they have any. I have a few friends who have had to emigrate because the jobs they are after are abroad. Mind you things are picking up.” 

Ms Byrne has been critical in the past of the government’s JobBridge initiative. She recently wrote an article in the Sunday Business Post where she basically slated the programme. Commenting on JobsBridge to The Epoch Times Ms Byrne said, “It’s kind of like an internship system that isn’t necessarily helping the situation because employers will take on people when they don’t have jobs going. So they would just take on interns to do jobs that they could be employing somebody for and paying them a decent wage but instead they just let an intern do that for six months and then get in the next person without giving the job to the person who has done the work previously,” claims Byrne. 

“That’s the system that is now in place; employers are definitely taking advantage. There’s a really funny website called scambridge.ie where people are asking interns to do chicken fillet rolls, that sort of thing, it’s mad.” Ms Byrne added that any experience people are gaining from JobsBridge is not always relevant to their qualifications. She feels that people should be getting experience in fields they intend to work in in the future and not irrelevant experience that she feels many are getting.

On a Positive Note

“I think it [jobs market] is picking up a lot. You see employment figures saying this, but the younger age brackets (18-25), it’s a very slow pick-up there, with everyone else moving faster. But also sometimes what the government doesn’t take into account is the fact that people are going away.” 

Trinity Careers Advisory Service

Trinity College has a Careers advisory service for students that assists them with preparing CVs, setting up their LinkedIn profiles and other employment seeking activities. Worryingly they were unable to speak about their service due to the high demands on them. 

Ms Byrne was able to give us some insight into the work they do. “They do a lot of workshops; they have clinics for LinkedIn. You are also able to meet them and ask for advice, get them to dissect your CV and they might suggest cover letters etc. that are tailored to specific jobs.

“I know people who have gone in there and they said they have been very helpful. They also have a disability officer there for people with disabilities who are applying for jobs. This is a new provision that they have brought in because a lot of people might not necessarily want to disclose that they have a disability if they are applying for jobs,” concludes Byrne.

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