Money-conscious students can earn while they learn

Rebekah Lingard turned down a university place to join National Grid's school leavers' programme, a two-year course that allows her to gain a fully funded foundation degree. She receives a salary of £23k while she's studying, and has the option to top up her qualification to degree or master's level at a later date.

Choosing the programme over a university course was an easy decision, she says: "It just doesn't make sense to go to university and take on all the student finance and then come out at the end of it with a degree and no job."

The chance to go into the work place and learn practical skills was another selling point for Lingard, who ensures that the equipment in the company's substations is in safe working order. "There's a lot of variety – it's not like you're sitting in front of a laptop all day – you're out all the time working with a big team."

Distance learning and part-time courses offer another way to balance studies and work. Natasha Reason, who works in technology support at the gas analysis company Servomex, is working towards an online degree in IT at the University of Hertfordshire – funded by her employer.

Juggling university with a 38-hour week isn't easy, but she enjoys the flexibility of studying from home. "You have to put eight hours in a week per unit. It was a bit of a shock at first, but I found ways to make the time up – I have a 30 minute commute to work, for example, so that's when I get my reading done."

Melissa Wright, a higher national diploma student at Bournemouth & Poole College, balances her three-day-a-week graphics course with a part-time job at Poole Pottery. "It is nice to earn a bit of extra money," she says, adding that she plans to top up her qualification to degree level once she has completed the course. "Even though I live at home I still pay rent, so working helps me cover costs while I'm at college."

Whether young people are drawn to school leavers' programmes or are considering a part-time course, they should do thorough research, says careers adviser Susan Burke. "Look at scholarships for particular organisations, sign up to the national careers service, for example. There isn't just one place for opportunities, so you need to be proactive."

(Source: TheGuardian)


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!