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Part-time work a cash cow for students

Date

Larissa Nicholson

Sam Guthrie gets paid to dress up as a cow and acts as the ANU student centre's promotional mascot.

Sam Guthrie gets paid to dress up as a cow and acts as the ANU student centre's promotional mascot. Photo: Melissa Adams

Donning a cow suit is not a bad way to earn a dollar, says ANU student Sam Guthrie.

Since 2010 the fourth year arts/law student has dressed up as the ANU Careers Centre's ''Careers Cow'' and handed out lollies and flyers to students, earning him some handy extra cash at the start of the university year.

''It's four to five days a week of two or three hours work, it's pretty good to earn a little bit of money to make ends meet,'' he said.

The Sunday Canberra Times reported recently that a number of local students were entering into arrangements with ''sugar daddies'', wealthy older men who paid the students' HECS, covered expenses and gave them gifts in exchange for sex. But University of Canberra student association president James Pace said many students found themselves short of money and worked in excess of 15 hours a week in addition to study to pay for rent and food.

''That's not even going out on weekends or going to the movies or anything like that, that's just to afford a roof over their head or to put food in their bellies,'' he said.

Mr Guthrie comes from Mandurama, nearly three hours' drive north of Canberra, and was awarded a regional scholarship for his university studies.

Last year he also supplemented his income with work as a senior resident at a university college, a role which saw him work as a mentor to younger students living on campus, and he said many struggled financially.

''I see a lot of difficulty with [student] residents who work a lot, quite long shifts, particularly I think the big one is retail and hospitality, and only just earn enough to pay their rent, to pay for the basics of their groceries,'' he said.

Kate Gemmell, manager of the ANU Careers Centre, said retail, hospitality and administration jobs both on and off campus were among the most popular employment fields for ANU students, and Canberra offered many opportunities for those looking for work.

''While we recognise that students are often time poor, we encourage our students to see part-time work as a source of skills development that might give an edge in applying for a graduate position,'' she said.

Ms Gemmell said 68 per cent of ANU's domestic students and 33 per cent of international students were working while studying in 2012.

Domestic students at the ANU worked an average of 11 hours per week and international students worked about four hours per week.

7 comments

  • Looks like he's milking it for all its worth....

    Commenter
    Llama Farma
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    February 27, 2013, 9:10AM
    • Be glad we live in Australia...in most countries around the world, you don't get HECS - fees are paid upfront or through very expensive loans! And if they can't afford it, they don't go to uni.

      Working part-time at uni is a good idea. Even if you're living at home, it still gives you experience for getting a job once out of uni. Unless you're doing law or medicine, most uni students should have enough time to pack a few days of work every week.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 9:48AM
      • I don't know why you would think this. When I was an undergraduate student, which was quite some time ago, the law students had the shortest class timetables and most of them had bad attendance records too.

        Commenter
        enno
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        February 27, 2013, 3:24PM
    • I study full time but because of the restrictions Centrelink put on my earnings, I can only work a certain number of hours, and it isn't much. Working more and more hours to make up for what Centrelink take away if I earn too much, is not practical as it leaves less time for study. Especially in a full time degree. It almost feels like a lose-lose situation. For the record, I am a mature age student, I support myself with the help of Austudy allowance. I've served in the military and lived in the real world, but I see many younger students struggle for a variety of reasons. I've also found that employers are not as flexible as they say they are. I'm just glad this is my final year!

      Commenter
      otama
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 1:12PM
      • Look on the bright side ! You spelled "lose" correctly, twice ! Not many of your fellow students can say that.

        Commenter
        enno
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        February 27, 2013, 3:25PM
      • Haha - thanks, enno. I actually do feel a bit better now ;-) You're absolutely correct by the way... (note: that's you're, not your)

        Commenter
        otama
        Date and time
        February 27, 2013, 7:35PM
    • I finished Uni as a mature aged student in 2011, I had no choice but to work full time while studying full time as I have a mortgage, I was not entitled to any centrelink because I owned too much in assets (even if it was in debt). Not only did i work my arse off for my marks, we ran 2 cars (needed both as my husband and i both worked shift work, him out of state). I was still able to pay my HECS debt off last year.

      Some people need to learn to live within their means, sharehouses sometime need to be the go.

      Commenter
      SalSupa
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 9:54PM
      Comments are now closed
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