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Working while you study

Part-time work is a good way to earn money while studying, learn new skills and meet new people.

Students at York can work up to 20 hours per week during term time. Many work around the city and some are employed by the University.

Finding a part-time job

Jobs in the University

The University employs students as:

YUSU advertises jobs in bars and administrative roles. Jobs are occasionally available elsewhere on campus in roles like catering, library support and cleaning. These might be advertised on the University’s job board. You could also ask directly if any vacancies are available.

Some employers employ students to be their on-campus brand manager/ambassador. Vacancies are typically advertised via Handshake. We have produced some Guidance for student brand managers 2022 (PDF , 372kb) with advice and tips for promoting your employer's organisation. 

York Commercial Limited (YCL), is a subsidiary that is wholly owned by the University of York, and it manages the catering outlets, conferences, sports centre and village, marketing, design, print shop, retail including on-campus Nisa and gifts shop in addition to campus nursery and York Science Park. YCL is known for its friendly environment, encouraging diversity and inclusion at the workplace and for being a sustainable business.

If you would like to hear via email about openings for casual jobs in catering, hospitality and retail at the University of York, please sign up below:

Sign up for job adverts

Vacancy sources in York

Use these websites to find part-time jobs:

For national sites, remember to choose a geographical location to search by. 

Recruitment agencies

Local recruitment agencies may be a good source of temporary work.

Search Agency Central to find relevant local agencies specialising in the kind of work you’re looking for.

Unadvertised opportunities

Some part-time jobs are not advertised online. Many can be found informally through notices on shop/restaurant windows or through word of mouth.

If you have friends already working, make sure they know you’re looking for work so they can let you know if their employer is looking for new staff.

If you have worked for a company with a chain of outlets around the UK, check to see if you could transfer to a local branch.

Getting a job with no experience

If you have no previous experience, be realistic and appreciate that you may find it hard to find your ideal part-time job straight away.

Volunteering is a good way to develop skills like customer service and cash handling (for example, in a charity shop).

Think about how your skills may be valued by a potential employer. Do you have good language or IT skills, or personal qualities like motivation, reliability and a willingness to learn?

Some jobs might be advertised with no experience necessary:

  • Some call centre roles, which offer on the job training
  • Low level roles in hospitality sector like cleaning
  • Flyering and other promotional work
  • Some care work

Work shadowing

This can be a great way of exploring possible career areas, through the chance to observe someone in a workplace and ask questions to find out more. See the Prospects web page on work shadowing for an explanation of what it can involve.  

Working for yourself

Some students might consider self-employed work, such as freelancing, while studying. Occasionally, you might see freelancing opportunities on Handshake.

Before you do this, think about whether:

  • you understand what is required regarding tax and national insurance
  • you have agreed terms, such as how you will be paid (for example, will you be working for an agreed fee or an hourly rate?)
  • you have the time management skills to fit this kind of work around your studies.

We offer a range of support to students who are setting up their own business or doing freelance work. If you are looking for advice or if you have any questions, go to our enterprise pages or email enterprise@york.ac.uk.

If you’re an international student studying on a Tier 4/Student visa you are not allowed to do any self-employed or freelance work, but you may be able to apply for a Start-up visa after graduation.

Read our additional information to help you successfully find work. For immigration advice about working during your studies, contact the Immigration Advice Service.

Tutoring

Tutoring, online or in person, can be a good way of sharing your subject knowledge, gaining teaching experience, and earning some extra money. Some tutoring opportunities are advertised by agencies in Handshake Careers and Placements advises that you check any tutoring opportunities carefully before entering into an agreement. Tutoring is often on a freelance or self-employed basis (rather than being employed by a company) and therefore not suitable for international students, as mentioned above. High Speed Training has some good advice about setting up as a sole trader for tutoring.

Employment law and taxes

Getting a National Insurance number

When you get a job you need to give your employer your National Insurance number. All UK students should have been issued with one when they were 16. If you don’t know yours, you can contact the National Insurance number helpline.

Non-UK students need to get a National Insurance number to be employed in the UK. Read more about this your rights at work.

Next steps

Wondering how your part-time work can help you get a grad job in the future? York graduate Alex worked in retail while he studied and used his experience in job applications and interviews. Hear more from Alex on our What do you actually do? podcast and learn more about building up skills and experiences on Your career journey while at York.