By: Joseph Cacciotti

Lori Berketa, employment officer with the Employment Support Centre, counsels students.

With so many students looking for summer employment and good money for the coming semester, it is important for students to make informed decisions.

“You need to ask. You need to know what you’re getting into. If you don’t know what you’re getting into remember that whether it is salary, work hours, or payment options you have a right to know,” says Lori Berketa, Employment Officer for Algonquin’s Employment Support Centre.

Many companies look at colleges and universities looking for students to hire, however not all of these opportunities are what they seem. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Landscaping companies such as Ace of Blades, or Canadian Property Stars advertise with big signs offering up to $2000 ever week with flexible work hours and a shuttle service. Though there are cases where employees have made the advertised amount, most people do not earn close to half as much.

The reason for this is these companies pay commission, not an hourly wage, and as a result the money you earn all depends on the quantity of sales you can make in the time you spend working.

Some can spend weeks working to sell landscaping to potential customers only to make less than the equivalent for hours spent in minimum wage.

It is a sound business model, and the prolonged existence of these companies proves it works well. Though not dishonest, choosing not to provide students with all the details can be misleading.

“We want companies to be clear and open about what they are offering students,” says Berketa.

Summer is quickly approaching and students should be thinking of what kind of jobs are available to them, and which of these jobs are most beneficial to their lives and careers.

“You’ve invested time, energy, and money in college for a reason, so it’s time to start looking for the employer that suits your skillsets,” says Berketa, “it is about creating a strategy for yourself and focusing in the direction you want to go.”

The Employment Support Centre has the staff and the tools to help all students and graduates find the career that is best for them. It is the only college service extended to graduates after completion of their programs at Algonquin.

“Success is the goal. It’s okay not to know how to get there and it’s a work in progress for everyone,” says Berketa.