Something for the student hustlers

One of the biggest problems students have is not being able to stretch their money for the entire month. Many are stuck with the dilemma of cutting back every time they receive their allowance, whether it is from their bursaries or parents. Meanwhile other students have what we nowadays call a “side hustle”. This is a way to get money by doing a part-time job that pays just enough to cover costs. By doing this, they do not have to worry about cutting back or, better yet, nagging their parents for extra money.

There are many ways in which students can help themselves get rid of their financial woes at Wits. The Career Councilling and Development Unit (CCDU) has for many years assisted students in acquiring jobs on and off campus. Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Raj Naran, a career development educator and team leader at the CCDU, about the jobs they can offer for students.

“Some campaigns really make it worth it, some really aren’t but it beats being broke,”

“Students can register to be on the CCDU’s database, so that they can be contacted if there are any available jobs,” Naran said. They can go to their offices on West Campus to register. Unfortunately it is not always guaranteed the job they get will be related to what they are studying. Naran said  students can negotiate their pay when offered a job.


Fun off-campus jobs

MAKING MONEY: Cihangir "Gigi" Cevikmen at his part-time job at Kitcheners.

MAKING MONEY: Cihangir “Gigi” Cevikmen at his part-time job at Kitcheners. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Some students have taken it upon themselves to find fun and interesting jobs off campus. One of the most popular jobs, especially among female students, are promotions. This is considered a great job because it only requires you to work during the weekend. This could be in supermarkets or better yet fancy events, parties and clubs. We all know how students like having a good time and imagine being paid to do so, it is quite difficult to resist.

Bontle-Buhle Ngomezulu, a BCom student at Wits has been a promoter for a year now. She says that the pay can be good depending on the kind of campaign.

“Some campaigns really make it worth it, some really aren’t but it beats being broke,” she said. Bartending has also been a favourite among students, with the variety of bars in and around Braamfontein there is no reason to be unemployed. Lesego Chiloane and Cihangir Cevikem are both Witsies and bartenders at Kitcheners. Cevikem said persistence can be the key to getting a part-time job.

“I asked one of the managers for a period of four months and he kept on brushing me off, until he gave me a chance as one of the cleaners for a month or so and then I eventually got into the bar.”

Besides partying on the job, the one perk which was mentioned was the pay. “The money is really good,” Cevikem said.

“The pay is good, for a student,” Chiloane said. He said working at a bar requires a lot of discipline because you have to balance it with school.



Limited job opportunities for international students at careers fair

NATIONAL EDGE?:  A recruiter explains to Witsies their available options for their career applications.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

NATIONAL EDGE?: A recruiter explains to Witsies their available options for their career applications. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

International students can forget about applying for jobs in South Africa, unless they have an identity document (ID) or work permit. This was the general message at a careers fair, held earlier today at the Old Mutual Sports Hall at Wits.

The Counselling and Careers Developmental Unit’s (CCDU) graduate recruitment programme organised the fair for students from across all faculties but there was little on offer for students from outside South Africa.

Limited choices

International student Tinashe Chuchu, Masters in Marketing, attended the fair to look for potential recruiters and employment opportunities. He said the fair was a good initiative by Wits, however his choices are limited given his degree and nationality.

“There were a wide variety of opportunities for engineering students, social sciences students and commerce students,” he said.  However he was turned away by companies who were not looking foreign students. “I left out all the banks, for obvious reasons.  They do not take anyone who is not South African,” Chuchu said.

“I think the labour department puts (sic) regulations for companies to fulfil quotas,” he said.  In his own experience of looking for jobs, Chuchu found that there were positions advertised for international students, but only for specific and scarce skills sets.

Laws and regulations

Kwame Owusu-Ansah, masters in Chemical Engineering, shared Chuchu’s views.  Although there were many opportunities, Owusu-Ansah said some of them were very “shaky”.  You can apply for some positions, but then you have to make sure you can get a work permit.

“I have a wide variety of choices because I’m an engineer.  But until they find out I’m an international student, it slashes by three quarters.”

“Initially if you got an offer there would be an opportunity for you to get a permit.  But now you may get an offer, and not a get permit”

He explained that South African labour regulations are more stringent than in previous years.  “They often refuse permits for international students, even if they give you an offer,” he said.

Lloyd Uta, an international student completing his Masters in Marketing, found companies that were looking for applicants from South Africa and abroad.  Those were big multi-national companies and a few smaller companies looking to increase their human capital, he said.

However, Uta admits, “Choices are limited.  I have to keep switching between what I want to do (marketing) and what I can do (IT),” to find job openings.

Employers voice

Amos Kova,  a graduate recruitment manager at a bank explained why applicants had to be South African citizens, “We believe that we have an obligation to South Africa”.

Bohlale Paile, also a graduate recruitment manager at a bank said: “We don’t take international students at this point.  We did before, but we ran into problems when it came to getting work permits”.

She explained that the Department of Labour required recruiters to motivate why non-South African citizens were chosen over South African citizens.

The motivation process and applications for work permits take time, which holds international graduates back from starting the graduate programme timeously.

Raj Naran, the Career Development Educator and Team Leader Career Services at CCDU said this year, the careers fair was open to everybody.  “It does not have a specific focus.”

Companies came from industries where there was a shortage in a skills set, such as “accounting, engineering and commerce” he said.

Naran added that students should earn their jobs, develop themselves and prepare well, “and certainly, academic records play a role”.

Another careers fair is scheduled for September this year.