Free hostels proliferate in Shandong as foothold for graduates finding work

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In March, Zhong Junguang, a graduate from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region went to Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, from Rizhao, in the hopes of landing a job. Like some of the 8 million other recent graduates in China, he expressed anxiety at having to pay for accommodations while hunting for jobs in a new city. But he found a youth hostel in Licheng district of Jinan providing free accommodations for job-hunters. In only a week, Junguang managed to find the job he desired and successfully entered the company as an intern with the hostel’s help.

According to Junguang, he would have had to spend at least 1,000 RMB (153.96 USD) if the free accommodations were not available, a hefty fee for students just beginning to look for jobs. Even though Junguang had friends in Jinan and he would often catch connecting trains there, the city remained unfamiliar to him. However, the moment Junguang closed the door of his room at the hostel, he finally found relief.

As of mid-April 2021, there are 12 hostels in seven districts of Jinan open to job hunters. According to Xu Jingxin, operation manager for the Shandong Young Entrepreneurs Community, on top of providing accommodation services at youth hostels, they also provide services such as policy interpretation, recruitment guidance, employment information, consultation, resume printing and access to the internet and office spaces. While job-hunting, people can also participate in various training workshops and other activities in the community to build their profiles.

Wang Yining, a migrant worker, managed to find his place in Jinan with another free youth hostel’s help. In mid-March, Yining managed to find a job and rented an apartment nearby. Upon his arrival, he encountered a rental dispute. With nowhere to go in a strange city, Yining tried to contact the youth hostel staff. Despite standardised procedures requiring an early application, the staff still managed to check Yining in that night, making him the one of the first residents at the youth hostel on Huayuan Street.

”As the ‘first stop’ in Jinan for job-hunting graduates and professionals, the youth hostels provide us with a foothold,” Zhong Junguang said. Up to this point, Junguang has successfully signed a contract with the company he was working for and intends to stay in Jinan.