Accessibility statement

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 semesters. Many work around the city and some are employed by the University.

If you're an international student, make sure any work complies with the conditions on your visa. You must not exceed the maximum permitted hours (usually 20 hours) in any week.

Finding a part-time job

Jobs in the University

The University employs students as:

The University of York Students' Union regularly advertises positions, including bar work, student researcher positions and more.

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 (PDF , 2,141kb) 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. YCL manages the catering outlets, conferences, sports centre and village, marketing, design, print shop, retail including on-campus Nisa and gifts shop, as well as the 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

Where to look for part-time jobs

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

If you’re an international student studying on a Student visa you are not allowed to do any self-employed or freelance work. Instead, you should make sure you have a contract of employment, have told your employer your National Insurance number, and are on the company's payroll.

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


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.


You might hear about some students with large social media followings making money from influencing. That’s promoting brands or products on your social media channels in return for money or free products. It’s possible to make money this way but isn’t an option for most students. If you want to give this a go, you could try contacting businesses you want to work with, but a more realistic option is to sign up to an agency that works with student influencers. Unitaskr and Hype Collective are two examples.

Some traditional ‘brand ambassador’ jobs are becoming more like influencer jobs. So instead of leafleting or running a promotional stand on campus, you might be promoting a company through your social media channels. 

Pay and working conditions

Part-time work can be a great way to experience a change of environment, earn some money to help with living costs, meet new people and develop skills for your CV. However, we're aware that for some students, working part-time can be problematic. We hope the following will help you to be aware of your rights and look after your wellbeing.

Employment law and taxes

Example: If you are aged 18-20 and work 10 hours a week paid at the National minimum wage, from April 2024 you will earn £86 (NMW £8.60 per hour). If you need to travel to work by bus, 3x student day tickets will cost you a total of £12. Unless you have other income, you would not be liable for tax or national insurance. So by working 10 hours you would gain a total of £74 a week.

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 in your rights at work.

Zero hours or casual contracts

A lot of part-time jobs, particularly in hospitality or retail, offer zero hours contracts rather than specifying how many hours a week you will work.

This can offer flexibility to both employer and employee, see the government information on zero hours contracts. You can be called on to work when needed, but you are not obliged to accept work shifts if they clash with other commitments (eg university lectures!). However, some students on zero hours contracts report feeling pressurised to work even when it is not convenient, and worry about job security; and of course, there is no guarantee of work.

Health, safety and wellbeing

Whatever kind of work you are doing, be aware of your rights, understand how to cope with work pressures, and know how to take care of yourself.

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.

What you can do now