FRUSTRATED STUDENT: Ainslie Meiklejohn-Griffiths is struggling to find work in the Northern Rivers.
FRUSTRATED STUDENT: Ainslie Meiklejohn-Griffiths is struggling to find work in the Northern Rivers.

Uni honours degree not enough for work

THIS young woman knows first-hand the joyless reality of being well educated and yet underemployed on the Northern Rivers.

Murwillumbah resident Ainslie Meiklejohn-Griffiths, 29, has an honours degree in sociology and yet struggled to find work for more than 18 months in her chosen field.

Well-suited to working in the community, social services and local government sector, she never progressed to the interview stage of several short-term contract positions.

This despite her achieving first class honours at Griffith University with her marks ranking her in the top 5% of the university.

"With my Arts degree I also had 100 hours of volunteer service working on policy development at a PCYC," she said.

"I was looking for social work jobs, youth jobs, office work, anything to do with writing."

Ms Meiklejohn-Griffiths' job search took in an huge area from Lismore to north of Brisbane.

"I was well aware I'd have to travel to work," she said.

"I'd accepted that challenge but I was still looking - fruitlessly."

Working with a case manager from a local employment agency was a waste of time - the only jobs available were shelf-stacking in supermarkets or fast food service roles.

"They didn't even find me those jobs, but being a jobseeker and not liking having no money, there were the jobs I was already applying for off my own bat."

"It was a waste of time for everyone involved.

"I didn't want to be in that position but I was - it was a waste of services."

Ms Meiklejohn-Griffiths ended up working in an unpaid role supporting her partner's business.

She has since returned to university to complete a PhD in an effort to upskill, possibly to earn an academic role.

She loved the region, but the couple might have to move on if the job search continues to fail.

"It's a beautiful place to live, we've got a wonderful property, but as far as it goes for finding work, you're dreaming," she said.

"It's not something that we had on the cards, but it's not so far-fetched to think that we would have to make alternative options."