Maintenance loans aren’t big enough anymore. For many, the full maintenance loan will be spent on accommodation, leaving little left for other living costs. But even if you have budgeted for your food and going out, you might not have considered some of the extra costs that university life can throw at you – maybe you’ll want to join a few societies, buy kit for your sports team, get a ticket to Leeds ball at the end of term or head off on the university ski trip? Sadly none of these things are free and they certainly weren’t taken into account when Student Finance decided how much money they would lend you.
A survey conducted by Endsleigh indicates that around eight out of ten students work part-time to help fund their studies. But even if you’re lucky enough to be financially propped up by the Bank of Mum and Dad, you might still consider getting some work experience whilst you’re a student. Graduate employers are making it very clear that it is no longer enough to get a 1st or a 2/1 and successful applicants on their competitive graduate schemes will likely have some level of work experience. So, how can you get a head start in finding a job in Leeds?
There’s no better place to start looking for a job than at the university itself. Leeds University Union offers a great service called Joblink, which regularly posts and updates jobs from employers in and around the university. On the union’s website you’ll also find a separate page posting any jobs that the union are hiring for themselves, from pulling pints in Old Bar to working as an admin assistant. Working for the university can be a great way of earning some extra cash without having to compromise too much on your university experience. Employers within the university are more likely to respect the fact that you are a student first and their employee second, meaning they are likely to be more flexible around your schedule. The pay for jobs advertised to students at the university is normally £8.70 per hour and there’s obviously the added benefit of not having to spend a long time commuting. Be sure to check Minerva for job adverts throughout the year, such as working on university open days as a student ambassador.
If it’s the commitment to working a part-time job that puts you off, then it’s these kind of temp opportunities that are the ones you need to look out for. If you’re looking for something a little more regular than the few university open days, then try checking out the online job search tool on Save the Student, Unitemps and the app Syft, to top up your student income without committing yourself to long hours (that could ruin your grades and your social life!).
As October approaches, you might want to start thinking about seasonal Christmas work, as retailers and restaurants in particular will need more staff to cover the busy period.
Whatever you do, don’t forget you’re paying over £9000 a year in fees alone to be at university. Don’t let yourself fall in to the trap of working longer hours and covering more shifts at the cost of your degree.