Minister should clarify what hiring freeze means for students
NDP Advanced Education and Skills Critic Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) wants the minister of the department to answer the questions of hundreds of college and university students who would normally complete work terms with the provincial government.
Students gain vital work experience, in many cases necessary if they are to receive their degrees and diplomas, in numerous government departments.
After having heard the concerns from several students, Kirby wrote AES Minister Joan Shea to inquire whether she would respond to the questions, saying government short-sightedness should not prevent co-op students from accessing discipline-specific work experience opportunities in the public service.
“I ask that you please advise me as soon as possible regarding the impact of the temporary hiring freeze on the availability of co-op placements for students with government agencies and departments,” Kirby said in his letter.
He is hoping the Minister can give an answer soon, so students are better able to plan their lives. As Kirby noted, they may need to go to other provinces to complete their education-related work requirements.
“Has the Minister given any thought as to what the implications of this decision could mean for young people who have invested thousands of dollars in their education, and need these work terms if they are to graduate and fill the increasingly large number of gaps in our provincial work force?” Kirby asked.
“Or is this just one more thing that has escaped her attention in her large and unwieldy department?”