Working for your future

These days most students have to get part-time work in order to make ends meet. but there are plenty of options available
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The Independent Online

It used to be the case that universities and higher education colleges firmly discouraged students from taking part-time jobs during term time. Vacation work was OK; term time was for academic work only.

It used to be the case that universities and higher education colleges firmly discouraged students from taking part-time jobs during term time. Vacation work was OK; term time was for academic work only.

That was in the days of student grants - and before the introduction of tuition fees. Now, in order to make ends meet, over 85 per cent of students have paid employment. Many work for between 12 and 15 hours a week in term time - some more (although this is not advised).

A lot of you already have - or can get - marketable skills such as qualifications in typing/word processing, life saving, computing and IT. They can all normally be put to use with employers in your uni or college town. But what else could you do?

Good at sport? There's hourly paid work in leisure centres. Get fitness training qualifications and you could earn more.

As above and good with children? Many leisure centres organise children's birthday parties. Energetic people required.

Have you top grades in a musical instrument? Then you could advertise for pupils. You can also pick up the sort of jobs many of you have already - in pubs, clubs, shops, restaurants.

But these are only the tip of the iceberg. Many higher education institutions have bowed to the inevitable. Students must work, so they help them to find jobs. Many unis and colleges reserve as many jobs around the campus as possible for students - not just in catering and housekeeping but in administration too. John Sander, Student Employment Officer at Sussex University, says, "We have students in all departments and offices in the university. The only places you won't find them are in the medical centre and the examinations office."

Job shops

Some universities have opened their own employment services. John Sander says, "There are three models of a student employment service: a simple noticeboard displaying vacancies; an employment agency - that is the employment service itself is the employer and provides students to external companies - and the third is a combination. We run the combination model. Our job shop takes details of jobs and makes them available to students while Unitemps supplies staff for short term work.

How many Sussex students have term-time jobs? "30-40 per cent are probably working this week. 60-70 per cent will work at some point this term. They nearly all work in the vacations."

What sort of jobs can the service offer? "We get about 300 each week. Some are related to students' courses or might give them training or experience which will help their permanent career prospects. We can offer much more variety than the standard casual jobs students have probably been doing for two years anyway while at school. But having said that, we do take a large number of such vacancies - and there are some students who want them. They want to switch off from academic work in their part-time jobs and happily choose shops or pubs."

Sussex displays its jobs on noticeboards and through a website. (You can access this now on www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/SEO/ if you would like to get an idea of the sorts of work students can find - although it is not possible to access everything available to Sussex students registered with the Student Employment Office.)

This week the site was carrying: tele-canvassers £5 per hour; weekend analysts (biology and chemistry) £5.30; childcare for 12 hours a week; £4.50; travel centre telephone operator £4.50; zoo staff £3.60-£4.02; drivers to accompany disabled people into town £10 a trip; field marketeers £5; clerical assistant with languages £6.

beryldixon@hants23.freeserve.co.uk

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