local student

Toronto startup connects people who need help with out-of-work students

Now that it actually feels like winter in Toronto, snow and all, residents may more than ever require the help of LocalStudent, a new business that aims to help people get small jobs done around the house while also employing students who are out of work at the moment.

The venture is the brainchild of Ryerson University undergrad Alex Ryzer, who found that typical student jobs are in desperate need of an upgrade.

"Traditional student jobs have three main problem: they offer low pay, inflexible hours, and micromanagement. These jobs have been pretty much unchanged for the last 50 years, and are inconvenient for students with a busy school schedule," Ryzer told blogTO.

LocalStudent, however, allows young people 16 and over to choose their own schedules, do their jobs solo and potentially earn more pay for the time they invest, all while helping out fellow members of the community with things like shovelling snow, removing leaves and basic landscaping.

An online platform provides quick quotes for such domestic tasks, and allows customers to book with one of thousands of students looking to complete them and beef up their resumes in the process.

The business model fares particularly well during the health crisis, as so many jobs usually available to young people are out of the question right now, and the tasks LocalStudent workers are assigned to are naturally done outdoors and at a safe distance. Its services are also considered essential amid lockdown.

Ryzer says he's had more than 12,000 workers sign up so far for work in 23 cities across Southern Ontario, and hopes to soon add more skilled services that people may be in want of as the business grows; things like graphic design and website building.

"We see the impact that automation will have on the economy and are taking action... Our long-term plan is to become a platform for any service a student can do, with a focus on those that won't be automated anytime soon," he says.

"We want to become the new way for students to find work, and our goal is to have a student signed up in every neighbourhood, on every street."

With another snowstorm due to hit the city this week and the seasonal weather considering for the foreseeable future, those with properties to shovel may want to keep the site in mind.

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