Person standing wear red shirt that says 'volunteer' on the back of it.

January 23, 2024, by lgyrm8

The benefit of part-time and volunteer work at university

By Rania Monasch, BA Geography – © Ray Sangga Kusuma via Unsplash

For various reasons it might not be appealing to volunteer or work part-time while studying at university. Your main focus is likely to pass your exams and part-time work could detract from that. However, with the correct planning and scheduling, part-time work can be hugely rewarding and I’m here to explain why.

There’s no dismissing that part-time work can be time-consuming, which is why it’s recommended for students to limit work to 10 hours a week, and at a maximum work 20 hours a week. I currently work as a blogger for the Careers and Employability Service, as well as completing a 10 hour a week internship for the Nottingham Excel in Science Programme. Alongside this, I am also a volunteer at the Nottingham Playhouse theatre on their youth board. This entails attending monthly meetings to discuss and take action on ways the Nottingham Playhouse can engage with young people from the local community. I find each of these roles manageable and rewarding and definitely enhance my university experience.

Working part-time has given me insight into the working world and has helped me consider what roles I can see myself working in after I graduate. I have been able to put my experience on my CV and has given me more confidence in applying for graduate jobs, as well as having examples to talk about in interviews. I have developed transferrable skills, increased my professionalism and gained a valuable network, but also shown great commitment to balance my studies with working and volunteering.

I started volunteering with the Nottingham Playhouse in my second year, and my internship and blogging job I only got at the start of third year. My main advice is that it’s never too late to enrich your experience at university. I kept my eyes and ears peeled for opportunities that came my way. I responded to adverts in my email inbox as my school department were regularly emailing information on work opportunities. I also looked at Unitemps for jobs specifically with the University of Nottingham.

If I was unsure of any details, I emailed the point of contact for the role for more information which helped give me more clarity. My success in getting these positions was largely to do with my interest in the sectors, and therefore my passion came through in the application process – so consider what your interests are before applying for jobs.

I definitely acknowledge that part-time work is a commitment at university, but it is rewarding and beneficial in the long run, enhancing one of the main reasons for attending university: securing a job afterwards.

If you’re looking to build your CV with part-time or volunteer work, visit the ‘What can I do?’ page on the Careers and Employability Service website.

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