Friday, January 22News For London

Covid-19: Students’ distress over job loss

The mass vaccination coming up this week in the UK does not reassure everyone. Especially students that WestminsterWorld had the opportunity to meet.

Credit: Simone Michelle Gray

Nearly 80 per cent of students rely on part-time job to gain extra income. Due to this year’s economic crisis and social distancing regulations, workplaces have been closed and many students cannot continue their work.

According to Generation COVID survey conducted by LSE, the most job loss among all age groups are student aged 16 to 25, which means one in 10 young people lost their job during covid-19 pandemic.

source: Generation COVID

“They had to cancel all the shows when the lockdown came up so I lost my job.”

We can see the depth in her eyes as much as the pain. Barbara Uzoigwe, 22 years old lost her part-time job when the lockdown came up last March.

She is a student in journalism at Montfort University and is still shocked by how she’s been told she had to shut down, ” We just got an email that was just like it’s been the lockdown now so all the shows are canceled until further notice”.

Although most students’ jobs aim at covering the tuition fees, being young and enjoying life also requires money.

Therefore, getting into a part-time job was essential for Barbara as she expresses in the interview:”it was to earn extra-money for myself so that I can go out and do things I wanted to do.”

Thanks to the government’s scheme, Barbara has been on furlough since March but is uncertain and anxious about the following months.

Governments survey reveals that, the government’s furlough scheme has helped employers pay the wages of 9 million employees across the UK. The self-employment income support program supports 2.7 million people.

However, as mentioned, doing a part-time job is often necessary to live in a decent condition. Emily Latimer, a Master student at the University of Westminster struggles to cope with this current situation.

Emily lived with 40 pounds a week

Being brave is not always natural, except for Emily Latimer. She got really emotional during an interview with our WestminsterWorld journalist.

She used to work at a pub for a year but did not have a full contract. Therefore, the furlough she got is quite miserable. “It was a really small percentage of my wages and that’s because I am on a 0 hours contract so there’s no strict amount of hours I work a week.”

source: blog.chronobark.io

Although she lives in her family house, getting a job in a pub was “to support my studies”. London is quite expensive and 40 pounds do not even cover travel and food together.

source: student survey 2020

As young people and especially students have been sacrificed during this pandemic, Emily is still grateful for what she got.” Due to the pandemic, I got put on furlough which I felt really lucky and grateful.”

If this story makes you emotional, Emily’s response to her situation shows even more compassion. Gratitude is what she is full of, no matter the odds. ” I still feel lucky because I know a lot of people are unemployed,” she expressed WestminsterWorld during an interview.

In fact, as the lockdown came to an end and London turned into Tier 2, pubs opening enabled Emily to work again. She works between ten and fifteen hours a week to have some money to cover her tuition fees.

“My company called me the other day and they said: ‘we’re not renewing your contract, we can’t justify you to the company’.”

“It’s devastating!” Those are the first words Yasmin Berezicki-Stevens used when opening up to WestminsterWorld.

The 20-year-old student couldn’t believe what she just heard on the phone. All of a sudden, her world changed as she was left without any financial help.

source: student survey 2020

Our journalists had the chance to meet her to get exactly what happened to her.

In the video below, all of the students we met shared their stories about their safety conditions, especially social distancing.