student in uniform providing accommodation tours

Working as a student

As you get closer to starting university, you may want to look for ways to support yourself financially. Many students will get part-time jobs to contribute to living expenses alongside their maintenance loan. However, the benefits of working part-time aren't just financial.

The benefits of part-time work

1. Transferable skills

Part-time jobs can add to the many transferable skills you will gain at university. These include independence, self-sufficiency, time management, communication, teamwork skills and many more.

2. Employability

Any work experience is good experience! A part-time job on your CV will be impressive to graduate employers, even if it isn’t directly related to your chosen field. You can evidence your skills and have a great employer reference under your belt.

3. Socialising

One of the best parts of your time at university is the chance to meet lots of new people, and a part-time job will only increase your social circle!

4. Expand your degree subject knowledge

It’s an added bonus if your job relates to your degree! This can open up even more opportunities for you to network and establish yourself in your chosen industry.

"I'm grateful that during my time at university, I’ve had the opportunity to work in retail and for the university and Students' Union in several part-time roles. There are loads of roles available around Birmingham and the university for students who need to earn while they’re studying. It’s also important to think about how you can gain great experience that will support you in the future and when you’re applying for jobs."

Phillip Mcahill, Graduate

Types of work available

Birmingham is a city full of opportunity for young people, with the nearby Bullring shopping centre bringing in 40 million visitors per year, and 1000 shops within a 20-minute walk of the city centre. Here are examples of some of the jobs you could look for:

  • Part-time jobs – The structure of university learning can give you the flexibility to fit a part-time job around your studies. This can be in a wide range of settings, but many students will work in retail and hospitality jobs while at university, including in some roles on campus.
  • Student ambassador work – There is the chance to be paid to represent the university at various events including open days, school visits and summer schools as well as mentoring and Clearing hotline roles. These jobs are very flexible and usually take place on-campus, meaning you can easily fit them around your studies.
  • Placement years – Some courses offer a year-long work placement between your second and third year of study in a field related to your subject. These are usually paid and often can lead to a graduate job at the end of your degree!
  • Work experience – certain courses have mandatory work experience as part of the course. For example, healthcare courses such as Midwifery and Nursing will require regular placements. However, other courses will have work experience opportunities for you to make the most of.
  • Holiday work – At university, you will have intense periods of study but also breaks (particularly over the summer) where you can find temporary part-time work.

However, it is important to maintain a work/life balance…

While working as a student is great, it is important to make sure you have enough time to balance your studies, your job, your social life and time to chill out. We recommend working out how many hours you can work without sacrificing the rest of your responsibilities and your energy - and make sure you stick to it!

"Have that free time – you need it! University is about enjoying the experience as much as it is about working hard because there’s no time quite like it and you need to make the most of it!"

Caitlin, BCU Student Vlogger

What BCU can do to help

Each faculty at BCU has its own personalised Careers+ service, which can help you to create your CV, work on your employability and find part-time work and work experience placements. You can continue to access their support for at least three years after graduation!

Graduate+ is an extra and co-curricular awards scheme offered to all students at BCU, designed to help you stand out from the crowd and prepare you for your future. You will get to attend training events, network with others, work on projects and most importantly have fun, all while developing your skillset personally and professionally!