Bricks and mortar-boards

Giles Lovegrove, 24, from Cornwall, graduated this summer from the University of Bath with a degree in architecture.

He has to go back this autumn to complete one more year in order to become a fully-qualified architect.

In the third year he had a summer job working as an architectural assistant at a Bristol firm. He was paid pounds 150 a week.

After building a relationship with the firm he organised further work one day a week. The company was flexible on the days he could work, so his university studies were not disrupted.

Mr Lovegrove says work placement opportunities vary across different courses.

He said: "With business studies, for example, you are guaranteed a paid placement for a reasonable amount of money. The tutors give a lot more guidance on finding a placement: with architecture you are on your own, and might, if you're not careful, end up working for peanuts."

Mr Lovegrove is currently on a placement at an architectural firm in London - where he is earning pounds 250 a week - before returning to complete his studies.