The Coronavirus pandemic has left the economy struggling: a reality that is particularly threatening to students who face severe setbacks in the job market for the next few years.
However, students might have found a way around this, as they leverage the internet to earn money under a range of job roles. The ease of technology for students is second-nature, thus allowing them to fulfil a variety of positions remotely online.
Repercussions of the pandemic have caused a higher demand for certain jobs- many of which students can fulfil. The need for extra child care at home has become supplementary to the economy, while time-off from formal education has given rise to tutoring outside of schools.
Becky Marsden, a 20 year old student at the University of Stirling has been earning money online as a tutor for studentnannies.com. Based in Scotland, Becky has been utilising her knowledge of primary education and childcare through online sessions on Zoom. A perk of the job, says Becky, is the “freedom to work around my own schedule, and be my own boss.”
“The Student Nanny experience is incredibly rewarding as you get to watch your pupils grow and build strong bonds with them along the way,” says Marsden. “I’m studying to be a primary teacher and it has really helped to improve my confidence and teaching skills.”
Evidently, the opportunity to work online provides many benefits to students. In a time when opportunities are sparse, students like Becky are able to work from home, use their expertise and experience to gain job roles and secure promising work for their CV’s, at the same time as earning money.
Another student who has successfully secured an online job is Judith Pundick, a 20 year old student at the University of Birmingham. Pre-virus, Judith was planning to go to California for 8 weeks, to work at a summer camp as a camp counsellor. Unfortunately, when this got cancelled Judith was distraught. “I was at a complete loss on how to give my summer a purpose as well as a means of earning money. I was planning on using the money I earnt this summer to go travelling”, says Pundick.
Fortunately, the agency through which Judith had arranged to go to camp with, Jewish Camps USA, proposed another opportunity to work as a counsellor for Camp Ben Frankel, who were running its operations online.
Admitting she was sceptical at first, Pundick says that the experience has been amazing and has been filled with unexpected rewards: “The kids have loved it and we’ve been able to create such strong bonds on an online platform. It’s been the most meaningful experience and has provided me with the opportunity to earn money in a time when it’s extremely difficult to get a job.”
“I’ve wanted to pursue a career in teaching for some time now, and this experience has provided me with tools and skills to help me get there. I’ve also learnt so many additional methods of communication which I would have never otherwise come across”, adds Pundick.
While there are many benefits of pursuing an online job at this time, there are also various practical needs and concerns. Self-discipline for example, has been extremely difficult for Judith, as the camp she is working for is based in America. Running at a time difference of six hours behind, Judith works from Monday to Friday at 3:30pm to 10:30pm. “It was really challenging at first,” says Pundick, “But I’ve had to adjust to the time difference and keep myself motivated despite the difficulties that it presents.”
Additionally, maintaining a job online is dependent on reliable broadband connection, something which can be taken out of one’s control at times. Certain safety measures and documents are also required when working with children, even online, such as DBS checks.
Despite these concerns however, the opportunity to work online has been life-changing for some. Twenty-two year-old Jessica Hughes, who graduated with a degree in Fine Art, originally started working online for studentnannies.com to earn extra cash. She challenged herself with engaging art lessons all about imagination and creativity. Jessica has been so inspired by the children she’s looked after that she is now considering taking a PGCE to become a teacher and has re-considered her career direction all together.
Despite the setbacks that students have faced during this anxious period, the ability to utilise the online platform for job opportunities is reflective of the growing potential of online operations. As many businesses re-open, many will see the potential that online opportunities can offer, and many students will be of the first to get involved.