ACT universities have adapted their careers services to support graduating students looking for full-time employment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
University careers councellors have prepared students for virtual webinars and job interviews as Canberra’s social distancing measures have forced the employment processes to go online.
According to the University of Canberra’s careers manager, Kate Gemmell, the most prominent changes have been the way employers connect with students. She said business representatives used to connect with students on campus during careers fairs but since the restrictions on large gatherings all expos have been moved online.
“At Canberra University we had a careers fair called Tertiary to Work, (before restrictions) which was attended by about 70 employers and 1,100 students, but a week after that we had another careers fair scheduled on campus that we couldn’t run,” Ms Gemmell said.
“The immediate impact has been due to social distancing and not being able to gather.
“It’s been challenging for everyone to adopt new ways of doing webinars instead of face-to-face employers’ presentations but there are still a number of graduate programs running.”
Ms Gemmell said the University of Canberra’s careers staff have been helping students adjust to the unprecedented situation due to the pandemic.
“We’ve done a lot of workshops around career resilience, around being able to look for jobs, and on a practical level, around virtual interviewing, and working on zoom, basically trying to master the intricacies of virtual recruitment,” she said.
“I think students are appreciative of the support and they’re aware that because of the sheer global uncertainty it’s a time of challenge.”
Despite universities efforts to help students navigate the different processes, many graduates are feeling anxious about their future job prospects.
Economics and international relations student, Gerri Shillington, is graduating from the ANU in November and is hoping to find a job in the public service but said this year’s market is incredibly competitive.
“There are more people applying for grad jobs especially in the public service because they want job security,” Ms. Shillington said.
“I was always going to apply for grad jobs but I was thinking that if I didn’t get anything I would be fine and just take a year off and travel and then re-apply but obviously now I can’t do that.”
Canberra is starting to relax its social distancing restrictions that have been in place since March.