Students missing career chances

University students take on any summer job just to earn money rather than seek work experience in a career they are interested in, according to new research.

Most said money was the main motivation for seeking work in the holidays, with two out of five taking jobs in telesales, factories, fast food outlets and bars, a survey of 1,000 graduates by energy giant Centrica found.
Almost two-thirds said they wished they had thought more about their future careers and gained relevant work experience while at university.

In a separate study of 1,000 university applicants, three out of four agreed that a summer placement was key in helping them secure a job when they finished their studies.
Centrica said the research showed that by shunning valuable work experience to earn money instead, many students could be harming their longer-term employment prospects.

The report was published as Centrica said it had taken on more than 70 undergraduates on its summer placement scheme this year.

James Fothergill, the CBI's head of education and skills policy, said: "Summer placements or internships provide invaluable experience in the workplace that employers look for when recruiting graduates, in addition to formal qualifications.

"In these financially-challenging times, earning a wage while gaining important work experience is a plus, and by putting in some extra research, young people will find there are companies that offer paid placements."

© 2011 Press Association
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