School leaver blog: part-time work and more

  • Anna Vall Navés
  • 02 Oct 2019

Welcome to this week’s AllAboutSchoolLeavers’ blog, where we’ll be discussing some key tips on how to work part-time while studying. We’ll also be taking a look at the cabin crew apprenticeship and Lyn Owers’ experience as the first female street light apprentice in the UK.


Career insight of the week: working while studying

Of course, an excellent way to learn while you work is to take on an apprenticeship, but if you’ve decided that university is for you (or you’re still in college, but need a bit of extra money) part-time work is an option that can help you cover some of your expenses. And if you’ve decided to work part-time, you might be wondering how much you can work without your grades paying the price.

In terms of the number of hours you should be working, it should definitely be less than 20 per week, and preferably no more than 15. It’s also best to take on a flexible job (and make your employer aware of your timetable) and avoid any commission-based job. And if you’re at university, the employer most likely to accommodate your needs is the university itself, so it might be a good idea to look for work at a university cafe or shop.

If your job is in some way relevant to what you’re studying or the field you want to go into, that’s even better. However, remember that your main priorities at university should be your degree and your health, so try not to commit to any role that will compromise either of these. 

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama

Weird and wonderful apprenticeships: cabin crew

Once again, this probably isn’t the first apprenticeship that pops into your head—but it’s certainly an interesting one! As attention-grabbing as flight attendants’ hand signals may be, their job is crucial, and it entails both providing excellent customer service and ensuring passengers’ safety (as well as travelling around the world, of course). Some cabin crew even work as part of the armed forces, providing services for ministers and royalty.

The cabin crew apprenticeship is an advanced apprenticeship provided by several different employers in the UK, from British Airways to the Royal Air Force. It generally lasts between a year and 18 months, and potential apprentices need to hold English and Maths GCSEs at an A to C grade. Being an air cabin crew can be tough, but with several years of experience, you can expect a base pay of around £20,000—which can be significantly boosted by the hourly payment you’ll receive while flying, as well as performance bonuses and commission for in-flight sales.  

Spotlight on: Lyn Owers, first female street light apprentice

Lyn Owers, a 27-year-old who previously struggled in office jobs, is now the first woman in the UK to complete an intermediate highways electrical apprenticeship. Owers told the BBC that she quit a previous job as a motor mechanic after a manager repeatedly told her he “didn’t want females in his workshop” and that she found it difficult to get back into her job as a plumber after taking some time off. 

Now, however, she’s succeeding at a job that she loves in a heavily male-dominated field. Owers claims that there’s nothing like being up on a cherry-picker at night, when “you can see for miles and it’s so peaceful… it’s not a sight you’d ever see outside of the job”. She hopes her success will inspire other women to enter her field: "I hope other females see me and think: “if she can do it so can I.” 

School leaver news

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced his plans for vocational education, revealing £120m in extra funding for a new wave of specialist institutes.

The Times’ league table of social diversity in British universities has been released, with top universities like Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews taking the bottom places.

The Access to Apprenticeships report published this week reveals that there is still much work to be done to make apprenticeships accessible to people with disabilities.

Recommended reading

  1. Following our tips for working part-time, here are some of the best ways to find a job at university.
  2. A former student visited her alma mater 20 years after her freshers’ week, and she’s compiled a list of what has changed.
  3. Have you ever thought your phone might be listening to your conversations? It turns out it’s not—but the truth might somehow be scarier.
  4. If you’re confused about the current political climate in the UK, here’s an article explaining Boris Johnson’s unlawful prorogation of Parliament and what it means for students.
  5. Finally, Jack Edwards’ most recent video outlines self-care tips for first years (and for freshers’ week specifically). 



Recruiting school leavers? We can help