ONE WAY to pay your way through your years at university or college is to get a company to sponsor you and help pay the bills.
Dozens of firms and public bodies fund students through university or college in the hope that they will cling on to the high-fliers of the future.
The awards can often be worth more than pounds 1,000-per-year and also give you the chance of paid work experience during your holidays.
Don't be worried about the fact that you feel you may be tied to the company for years and years. Most don't make any demands on your future but just hope they will have impressed you enough by the end of your university or college years to entice you into a full-time job.
However, most sponsorships are geared towards engineering and science degrees because it is those graduates that are the most difficult to recruit.
But don't give up hope if you are an arts student as careful research can yield a lucrative sponsorship.
If you can snare a sponsorship it will help you in the future. A recent survey found sponsored graduates receive a salary pounds 750 above average on graduation.
Financial considerations aside, sponsorship offers you the chance to leapfrog over your colleagues into the job market at graduation. It can be the perfect solution for those students who can't make up their mind whether to get a job or go to university.
One of the best sources of information is a book called "Students' Money Matters" produced by Trotman & Co Ltd (pounds 8.99) which is available through most careers advisers.
It lists all the organisations which offer sponsorships as well as details on how much they offer and where to apply. Lots of organisations offer sponsorships. These include industrial companies, government departments, local authorities, retailers, banks and accountancy firms and the armed services.
They can offer a bursary while you are at university or college (on average around pounds 1,300-per-year), assistance with travel costs, allowances for accommodation, books and equipment, guaranteed paid employment during the summer and the sandwich year.
Chris Bignall, recruitment officer for GCHQ, in Cheltenham, said: "We have two sponsorship schemes running and take about 16 people on each scheme.
"It is a partnership between the company and the student. Hopefully we attract the right calibre of candidate and help to nurture them through.
"They get the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of the communications industry."
Marks and Spencer's offer students the chance to work for them during a sandwich year in the middle of their degree.
Frances Cutts, the company's corporate press officer, said: "At the end of their time with us we will give them an unconditional job offer if they reach the required standard.
"It means for us we have got a number of people coming back into the business who already know how we operate. It is a very fruitful source of recruitment."
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