TARA Smith, 22, of Hervey Bay, is one of a number of young people on the Fraser Coast who must juggle part-time employment with study commitments.
Ms Smith said she had spent recent years working 45 hours a fortnight at Beacon Lighting in Pialba while studying for a marketing and tourism degree at university.
In March, when she graduates, her routine will change greatly as she enters a dramatically different employment market to the one that existed when she enrolled in her course.
"When I started my degree I was sure I would get a job with tourism but since the decline I've had my doubts," Ms Smith said.
And while she had not yet made a decision on her future she would consider relocating to look for work.
Ms Smith's boyfriend is employed in northern Queensland and she said leaving the area to find the job she desired was a reality she must confront.
She said despite the high unemployment rate among 15 to 24-year-olds in the Fraser Coast, she believed there was a local future for those willing to adjust their expectations.
"I think there are jobs out there but people are much pickier about what they are prepared to do these days," she said.