All bar none should find some work

In Scotland, land of the pub, there is an almost amazing availability of pint-pulling roles, but other types of part-time jobs may be harder to come by, writes John Izbicki
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It's all very well discussing nightclubs and discos and what students do for entertainment in their spare time. This begs an obvious question: how can they afford it? With grants phased out, tuition fees phased in and loans becoming an ever-heavier burden on the shoulders of most undergraduates, there is not a great deal of spare pocket money floating around for the odd night out on the town and the occasional pint or three.

There are, of course, the usual bank overdrafts - allowed to reach pounds 700 interest-free from most banks, and rising to a maximum of pounds 1,500 by the end of an average four-year course.

And there are also limited hardship funds (dubbed by the politically conscious government, the last lot as well as the current administration, as "access funds") that universities have in their dwindling coffers.

These are for students who encounter genuine hardship due to special circumstances.

The only solution, if one wants to avoid living on bread, cheese and love alone, is a bit of work on the side. Universities, which used to frown on students soiling their hands to make money rather than taxing their minds to pass exams, now accept that "needs must".

This is what the undergraduate prospectus of Aberdeen University has to say on the subject:

"It is university policy to allow students to undertake a limited amount of paid part-time employment in term-time as well as vacation, when this is financially necessary. Some part-time and vacation work is available within the university itself, especially in catering, estates and the library."

I recall my own student days, when money was less tight than it is now. I had a job in a pea-canning factory (exceedingly boring) and also went to France to help pick the grapes (exceedingly back-breaking but healthy and rewarding - especially when we sampled the wonderful wines in the evenings).

Today, pulling pints in pubs appears to be one of the most popular part- time jobs - and Scotland being the land of good pubs and bars, there's an almost amazing availability of bar work.

Edinburgh and Glasgow are good hunting grounds for such temporary posts and students come from other centres to look for them.

Over at St Andrews, there are some openings for golf caddies - but not all that many. During high season when the town is invaded by golfers and tourists watching them, there's work to be found at hotels and, yes, those bars again.

And in the Edinburgh area, covering Napier, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh universities, there are numerous vacancies during the festival season, as well as the hotel and catering fields.

At Dundee, the local outdoor pursuits centre often provides jobs for students. In summer, there is seasonal work to be hooked in Fife, across the Tay, and in Arbroath, home of the wee "smokie", one of Scotland's most attractive coastal resorts, best known, apart from smoked haddock, for its gorgeous 12th-century abbey.

The universities themselves provide students with a fair number of part- time jobs, ranging from work in the library to (oh, dear) general catering in the cafeterias and restaurants - kitchens as well as counter work.

Taking tours of visitors, alumni or conference delegates around the campus is another possibility.

It gives the opportunity to show off those hi-tech lecture theatres and laboratories, the library and the halls of residence and talk a little about the history of the place. You might even make the odd tip.

But it is the early bird that catches the juiciest worms.

Jobs, particularly these tough days, are not that easy to come by.

It would be advisable to apply almost the moment you have enrolled and unpacked you various bags.

Waiting until the proverbial wolf is at your door before seeking a job might prove disappointing.