KUALA LUMPUR: Doing part-time work can give undergraduates an edge over their peers when they enter the formal job market after graduating, say youth leaders.
Besides enabling them to earn some pocket money, part-time employment can also help university students to gain valuable experience which would be handy when applying for jobs later on, said Malaysian Youth Parliament representative for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Suhail Mohamed Kamarudin.
Urging them to be more realistic in view of the current economic scenario and higher cost of living, he said they should grab any opportunity to learn to stand on their own feet.
Commenting on an online project initiated by the Malaysian Youth Community! (MYC!) to make it easier for the 1.2 million university students in the country to get part-time jobs, Suhail said: “I support any effort taken to encourage our students to become more independent as it will make them more versatile and open-minded by the time they graduate.
“They can go for (part-time) jobs that require them to make use of whatever expertise they possess. For example, TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) students can provide private tuition in English and earn some pocket money,” he told Bernama.
Suhail said students who work part-time should, however, be able to manage their time effectively as their academic pursuits should remain their main focus.
On Monday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh launched the MYC’s MYC.com.my/projekberdikari website, which provides a list of companies and employment agencies offering part-time jobs with flexible working hours.
The website will be particularly useful for students with limited allowances, in the light of recent reports that some Malaysian students were “starving” because they did not have enough money to spend on food.
In January, Idris had urged all public universities to identify and assist students with financial problems. He also said that students strapped for cash could also get jobs as tutors or cafe assistants on the campus.
President of the Students Representative Council at Universiti Teknologi MARA’s Dungun campus in Terengganu, Aqib Fawwaz Mohd Amidun, 20, said part-time employment would help students to gain new skills and enable them to handle challenges more confidently after they graduate and get proper jobs.
“The reality is that most employers are not looking for employees with only academic excellence… they are looking for people who can communicate and market themselves well,” he said.
Aqib Fawwaz added that working part-time was, in general, a positive culture, with some universities even going to the extent of giving their students the space to carry out business activities.
Former president of the Universiti Sains Malaysia Students Consultative Assembly Haja Mydin Abdul Kuthoos, 27, said students could become financially self-sufficient by working on a part-time basis.
“They don’t have to depend on their families for financial support. In fact, some students are forced to support their parents who are old or ill and there are also students who are orphans. No doubt most of them are getting scholarships and assistance from the government but the money they are receiving is not enough to meet all their needs, what with the rising cost of living these days,” he said.
He added that he would rather see undergraduates spending their free time doing some part-time work, rather than indulging in undesirable activities.