‘I would rather not have had it necessary, but working at the GGD was really a godsend for me,’ says 25-year-old Marjolein. Her side job at a museum in Utrecht came to a standstill during the corona crisis because the museums closed. She did work there in addition to her music education. Now she works as an administrative assistant in a vaccination street. Marjolein prefers not to use her last name in the newspaper, to avoid nasty reactions. “There have been previous manhunts for colleagues by anti-vaxxers.”
Marjolein is not the only student who started a part-time job at the GGD in the past year and a half. The organization has quickly hired “thousands of people,” a spokesman said, including “a large group” of students.
Many of those students could no longer work in museums, cinemas or the catering industry and had to look for something new. There was enough work at the GGD – and a good salary. “Better than in the museum,” says Marjolein. However, there are often employment agencies among them and therefore, just like in the catering industry, it concerns zero-hours contracts.
It did her good to be “among the people” again. She was working on her thesis and was mostly at home. “Read a lot, write a lot. Little contact with others, although I did need it. This is one of the reasons why I started working in the vaccination street. The people you receive there are almost always happy, because they like to get their vaccine.”
The hospitality industry is well aware that many students with a new part-time job will probably not return to their old work for the time being. Entrepreneurs suffer from a staff shortage, and therefore sometimes have to close their doors. In February last year, just before the corona crisis broke out, 431,000 people worked in the catering industry, according to CBS. In May 2021, the most recent measurement, there were still 365,000.
According to Victoria Ruijs, director of Hotel Theater Figi in Zeist, the shortage is partly due to the GGD salaries. As an entrepreneur, she cannot offer this in times of crisis. “Or we have to raise the prices enormously. Those will be very expensive cups of coffee.” The minimum wage in the hospitality industry for employees aged 21 and over is EUR 10.34 gross.
Ultimately, she thinks that higher prices are the consequence. “We move with the market. You can already see it happening in Amsterdam and Utrecht. Not yet in Zeist, but I do think we will go there.”
I thought: we are in a pandemic and I am arranging flowers. Super fun, but I can also help by using my medical background
Liselot Raat medical student
Due to the staff shortage, Ruijs recently had to close the theater’s cinema for two weeks. “Fortunately, I was rescued from the fire by former colleagues and retirees from the neighborhood who were eager to help voluntarily. As a result, we were able to open again on Friday 10 September.”
In addition to the financial incentive, Ruijs thinks that the working conditions at the GGD are a reason that students stay away. “Many people are getting used to working 9 to 5 instead of evening and night shifts. And working at the GGD is less demanding than in a restaurant. That is why I now offer a standard four-day working week – that was unthinkable in the past.”
Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) has no figures on this, but does state that the extent to which the GGD provides employment has an effect on the staff shortage in the catering industry. “Ultimately, it remains a matter of supply and demand, and there is a maximum amount that you can spend as an employer on personnel costs.” The trade association expects the number of vacancies to grow to 559,000 in 2025, compared to 466,000 in 2019. “Many people have moved to other sectors. You won’t get that back anytime soon.”
There is also an outflow of staff in museums, says a spokesperson for the Museum Association, “but that was mainly due to budget cuts”. According to her, there was therefore less need to find a new job during the lockdowns in the museum world, and there are no shortages. “Most employees have a contract of a certain number of hours. That just went on. I can imagine that there are more zero-hour contracts in the hospitality industry.”
A GGD injection site in the Willem II stadium in Tilburg. Photo Olivier Middendorp
Medical students in particular made the switch to the GGD, because some of the part-time jobs require a medical background. For medical student Liselot Raat (18), the salary – gross 15.80 per hour, with allowances for evenings and weekends – was a motivation to work for the GGD, as a corona tester in the IJselland region. The GGD pays a lot more than the florist where she used to work. The switch was not necessary; the florist just stayed open and had plenty of work. “But at the GGD I get paid twice as much. And at one point I also thought: we are in a pandemic and I am arranging flowers. Super fun, but I can also help by using my medical background.”
Raat thinks the work at the GGD is “great” and hopes to be able to stay there for the time being. That is not entirely certain: one of the locations where she worked, Steenwijk, will soon be closing. And with the decreasing infections, more locations are likely to close. The GGD is still keeping a close eye on it, partly with a view to decision-making about a third jab and the advance of new corona variants.
Will Raat go back to the florist if it ends for her at the GGD? “New. This has made me realize that a medical job is a good fit for me. Sometimes people are nervous; it feels good to be able to reassure them. I get it too, you put a stick where no stick belongs. Testing is not called a risky act for nothing. I feel like a mini doctor when I’m doing that.”
Of course she hopes that corona will disappear, she says, “but as long as I can, I want to keep testing.” And after that? “Supporter in a general practice, something along those lines.” She previously worked in the hospitality industry for a year, but she can no longer think about that. “It’s tough, you work late and get paid much less. That is not useful at all while studying. At least I’m not tired of the corona testing the next day.”
It is also becoming quieter in the vaccination street with Marjolein. She won’t be going back to the museum any time soon. She has just graduated and is looking for a “grown-up job”. She can imagine that other GGD colleagues who are studying will soon return to their old jobs. “It all ends at the GGD now. I’m already getting fewer and fewer shifts, and it’s uncertain how many you have per week. Sometimes four, sometimes just one. It also depends on what the government decides: if everyone has to get a third shot, people will still be needed in the vaccination streets.”
Source and contact researcher and medical student Ertunc Kabaktepe (25) will not mind if his work at the GGD ends soon. “I hope to be able to work at a GP post during my internships.” He started at the GGD last year to “contribute to society”, and because of the flexibility the job offers. This saves time for research in the hospital and writing his thesis.
The relatively generous salary at the GGD also suited 22-year-old medical student Tijn Rozemuller. He has been working there as a floor manager in source and contact research, ever since his job in a restaurant ended. There he earned 13 euros per hour, at the GGD 18 euros. “I now have a better buffer for my internships, when I have less time to work.”
Precisely because he has built up something, he does not rule out a return to the catering industry. “I don’t have to choose the money. It’s more important to me what I like best.” The hours at the GGD are fine, he says, “but it remains an office job”. He would rather work up a sweat during an evening shift. “Knock it off and go. Ambient sounds everywhere, from guests or from the kitchen. I enjoy that.”
The working student: from tapping beers to vaccinating – and never going back
Source link The working student: from tapping beers to vaccinating – and never going back