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The 8 most popular jobs for international students in the UK

by Leanne Shrosbree | Oct 31, 2019
  • Here are the most popular student jobs and what you need to consider before taking on part-time work.
    people students dressed as different careers

    Should you get a part-time job while studying?

    While participating in sports, clubs and social events is important, you can also use your student years to kickstart your career. Being proactive and taking your first steps towards the working world will increase your chances of getting a job at the end of your studies. 

    If you’re a student wanting to start working while still in school, you’ll need to make some tough and smart choices. Here are some of the considerations when taking a job as a student. 

    Factors to consider when starting your job search

    Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for part-time work:

    Schedule flexibility
    It’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout. You’ll need to find a job that doesn’t interfere with your class and study schedule and offers flexible work hours.

    Skill development and career relevance
    A college job is the starting point to your CV. If you can, seek out a position that allows you to build the skills and necessary experience for the career you’re working towards.

    Remuneration
    Is it enough money to be worth your while? As a student working in a startup business or as an intern you might find yourself sacrificing pay. It’s important if you do this that you weigh up how much value the experience is providing. 

    Balancing work and study life
    Your education should remain your number one priority. You may find your work routine changes week on week. Scheduling and logistical issues could cause unnecessary stress and negatively impact your academic goals. Before taking on extra responsibility be sure you can manage your time efficiently. 

    Now that you know what to consider, it’s time to start searching. Here’s a list of the top eight jobs in terms of flexibility and pay, that you can have as a student living in the UK.

    1. Server or bartender

    Many jobs in the service industry are filled by college and university students. This is because most service industry jobs require little or no experience – great if you’re a young student seeking employment for the first time.

    These jobs are flexible, and most importantly offer fast cash. Bartending, serving food, and being the host or hostess of a restaurant will help you learn valuable communication and organisation skills as well as the ability to problem solve under pressure.

    2. Student ambassador

    If you’re outgoing, friendly and enjoy working with people you’d make a great brand ambassador. Similar to promotional work, you will represent a popular brand and promote its benefits to students like yourself.

    Your role as an influencer will most likely require skills like email marketing, social media management and sales. This is a great starter job for someone wanting to go into business management or marketing and branded communication.  

    3. Animal caretaker

    If you’re an animal lover and maybe missing your family pet back home, working as a pet carer might be a good option for you. There are a variety of part-time jobs and tasks that require extra help.

    If working with animals interests you, try looking for a part-time job at the following places: 

    • Pet grooming parlour
    • Dog walking service
    • Pet day care
    • Veterinary clinics
    • Animal shelters
    • Zoos and aquariums

    Working with animals is a natural stress reliever and a great way to get some exercise in, which makes this type of job a great study break.

    4. Office job

    Office jobs may not have flexible hours like restaurants and retail jobs, but working as an administrative assistant, part-time writer, or office receptionist will put you in a professional setting where you’ll gain valuable work experience.

    Choose a company you’d like to work for after graduating and start to connect with potential future colleagues. Meeting people already working in your chosen career will also give you a basic understanding of what your future work life will look like.

    5. Child minder

    A popular job that offers flexible hours and good pay is a nanny or au pair position. Depending on the age of the children you’re minding, some jobs only require you to work in the afternoons and evenings. This provides you with enough time to attend your classes, do your homework and complete your personal tasks during the day. Some families you work for may provide room and board which will save you a lot of money on costly UK rent.

    Beyond the essential skills, being an au pair shows that you have a good personality, patience and strong interpersonal and organisational skills. If you’re pursuing a career as a teacher this would be valuable to have on your CV.

    6. Tutor

    Tutoring is regarded as a professional speciality field that offers relatively high pay. There are many different options for work, such as for a non-profit, in after-school programmes, tutoring first-year university students or privately tutoring school-aged children. Whether you’re volunteering or working for money, tutoring allows you to customise your schedule and gain experience teaching.

    This is a chance to mentor and help others in a highly influential way. Tutoring experience on your CV shows you’re a good communicator and display strong leadership qualities.

    7. Retail associate or store manager

    Boutique shops are a good place to work if you’re a fashion lover. Retail positions involve stocking merchandise, maintaining display areas, greeting and helping solve customers’ problems. Many stores require little or no sales experience, they’re simply looking for someone with the right personality and style.

    Working in retail gives you a variety of skills to put on your CV when applying for jobs after you graduate. You may even save money on clothing and accessories as some stores offer employee discounts.

    8. Reselling your old textbooks

    Reselling textbooks is not technically a job, but it’s something you can do year-on-year, and a great way to earn a little extra cash. Textbooks are expensive, and although necessary, you may not need to use them once you’re finished with a subject. Declutter your room and sell those heavy textbooks to a student in a year below you.

    Remember to reward yourself

    Sacrificing the odd social event to work a double shift is okay, but also remember to treat yourself. You are working hard and studying harder so be sure to spend some of your hard-earned money on a fun weekend trip, a nice dinner or a small shopping spree. Working while studying shouldn’t lead to burnout.

    Can international students work in the UK?

    If you study at a university or college listed on the official UKVI Sponsor list and the list of “recognised bodies”, you are allowed to work while you study.

    International students who study full-time undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses at a recognised university can work a maximum of 20 hours per week. This would allow you to work part-time during the term and longer during your holidays.

    Before taking a part-time job, work placement, internship, unpaid or volunteer work it’s important that you check if your visa status allows you to work. You’ll also need to get a National Insurance (NI) number in order to work while you study in the UK.

    Which visa is right for you?

    UK universities are recognised as some of the best in the world. Many people choose to complete their higher education in the UK with the hope of getting a job offer after graduating. This allows them to switch from a student visa to a work permit and eventually naturalise as a British Citizen.

    See Also: Using a Tier 4 student visa to eventually get British citizenship

    The first step is to get your Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK.

    The Tier 4 (General) student visa

    This visa is for students coming to the UK for higher education. The applicant must be at least 18 years old and have an unconditional offer for a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor.

    You must also:

    • Be able to speak, read, write and understand English
    • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
    • Be from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

    Got your visa? You’ll need a National Insurance number

    The National Insurance (NI) number is unique for every person and you’ll keep your NI number for life. It consists of a unique set of numbers and letters allocated by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP).

    Your NI number is used by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the DWP to identify who you are and to ensure the correct amount of tax and National Insurance are paid by every person.

    What are National Insurance contributions?

    National Insurance contributions are different to your regular income tax. Taken by your employer, they are compulsory deductions from your earnings that are given to the UK pension scheme. The UK pension scheme will pay out retired UK citizens eligible to draw a pension with these funds. 

    Who needs a NI number? 

    Anyone planning to work in the UK needs to get their NI number organised. Many employers won’t hire you if you don’t have one, and you’ll also have to pay emergency tax rates, which are much higher than regular tax rates. Applying for your NI number can be a very time consuming process and it is a requirement by law that you must be physically present in the UK to start the process. Complete our easy online application form and we’ll assist by ensuring your details are registered with the DWP and emailing  you the date of your Evidence of Identity (EOI) interview.

    If you’re moving to the UK to study, our relocation consultants can help make the transition as easy as possible for you. Call us on +44 (0) 20 7759 7536.

    or email us at 1stcontact@sableinternational.com.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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