November 22, 2017 7:32 pm
Updated: November 22, 2017 9:01 pm

Website matches Alberta post-secondary students with one-time jobs

WATCH ABOVE: A trio of business students in Alberta have started a website matching post-secondary students with one-time jobs to try and address the issue of student debt. Emily Mertz explains.

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StudentHire is a website that has matched hundreds of post-secondary students with one-time jobs in their city and specific to their skills.

“Things like photography for NAIT photography students or graphic design for art students at the U of A or even computer science students to design a website for MacEwan,” co-founder and CEO Richard Clark explained.

It was created by three business students — two from MacEwan University in Edmonton and one from Mount Royal University in Calgary.

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They hope it will help young people pay their tuition without sacrificing too much time away from academics.

“We looked at things like high tuition costs, large student debt, busy course workloads and we created a viable solution with StudentHire,” Clark said.

“If someone needs a photographer for a wedding, or if they need a logo done for their company, or even if it’s something as simple as they need their driveway shovelled or their house cleaned, we can find a student to do that. These students are more than willing to come out because for them, they can pick jobs that fit their schedules which is really important when you’re in school.”

The platform started as a course project. Using just Facebook and a couple of Google docs, the team saw 300 students sign up over three weeks.

“For us, that was 300 students saying, ‘Hey, I have this issue and this is a viable solution for me,'” Clark said.

So, they created the StudentHire site with money they won in a few startup contests and by taking a percentage of the paid jobs matched using the site — sort of like a finder’s fee.

Over the course of eight months, more than 2,400 students have signed up, they’ve received about 1,000 job postings and matched several hundred students with work.

Zheren Zheng has found three freelance photography/videography/editing gigs using the site.

“It’s hard for me to find freelance by myself because there’s no such platforms for me… to connect with the potential employers. StudentHire provides this platform,” the University of Alberta student said.

For him, the benefits extend further than the money earned.

“I don’t value the pay from StudentHire that much; I value the experience more.

“The jobs that I worked … they are providing me an opportunity that I cannot get from school.”

READ MORE: University tuition fees in Canada rise 40 per cent in a decade

Recently, the creators launched an ATB Booster campaign to raise more money to help them expand into Calgary and Lethbridge.

“Our goal really would be for a student to pay their tuition using StudentHire,” Clark said.

“That’s not far-fetched. Last semester we had a student make close to $1,200 just in the course of a semester, which can equate to half of a semester’s tuition.”

READ MORE: 10 well-paying jobs in Canada you can score without a university degree 

Currently, the team vets job submissions and students manually, but is looking at implementing a new platform early next year to streamline that process.

“I’ve talked to hundreds and hundreds of people who have posted jobs on our site… I always ask them: ‘Why did you post a job?’ and they always respond with: ‘I just wanted to help a student.’

“The response from the community has truly been amazing.”

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