Looking for part-time work in Edinburgh? Check out my how to guide!

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Let’s face it. Students receive so many discounts, are exempt from council tax, and we even pay less in public transport. There is a reason for that! Whether you are doing an Undergraduate or a Postgraduate course, your time is limited and it is hard keeping up with a full time job. Luckily, there are a lot of part-time jobs out there if you need them to help with pocket money and the cost of living.

Maybe you are worrying about part-time work in Edinburgh? Well worry no more, I am here to help.

Let’s face it. Students receive so many discounts, are exempt from council tax, and we even pay less in public transport. There is a reason for that! Whether you are doing an Undergraduate or a Postgraduate course, your time is limited and it is hard keeping up with a full time job. Luckily, there are a lot of part-time jobs out there if you need them to help with pocket money and the cost of living.

What is a part-time job?

Let’s break it down because it might not be as clear for everyone. A full-time job includes a total of 40 hours a week, normally spread out evenly as 8 hour working days with 2 days off. A part time job can be tailored to your availability. There are different types of contracts for flexible working. Some people opt for 6 hours a day, others for 4 hours but really there is no fixed recipe. Especially as a student, your weekly schedule is unpredictable so a lot of people decide to only work weekends or choose zero hour contract jobs.

Wait, what is a zero hour contract?

This non-legal term refers to a working agreement in which the employer cannot guarantee a fixed amount of working hours. In other words, whenever work arises, the company lets you know and then you accept it or not depending on your schedule. This gives both the employer and the employee a lot of flexibility. The employer can keep a large number of employees working for them and the employees can opt to work a lot or very little indeed. In other words, what this means for you is that you can work a lot of hours one week (if you have the stamina and there is work available!) and then absolutely none the next. Some employers even accept you working a minimum of one shift every 2-3 months for them to keep you on the registry.

Friends at work

What kind of jobs can I find?

It really depends on what you are looking for. Most students decide to work in hospitality whilst they are undergoing their degree. This includes jobs such as being a waitress, bar-tending, working as a barista (making coffee) and so forth. Granted, the work may not always be relevant to your degree but it gives you the extra pocket money in order to live more comfortably. A very common practice is to register with an agency and get your shifts through them. An agency is basically a mediator between the companies that require (mostly temporary) staff and the employees. There are different types of agencies, ranging from Bank and Finance all the way to Photography..

I suggest trying to find something you are interested in, however, you can gain something from every job so it is worth just getting in touch with working reality and taking this as an opportunity to delve into different fields.

Sofia campus tour
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But I don’t have much experience…

We all started somewhere. If you are a student, regardless of your age, employers don’t expect you to have much experience anyway. What better place to learn than on the job?

What are my working rights?

It is always important to know and understand your rights in order to make sure you are receiving the correct treatment. Both full-time and part-time workers have, of course, basic employment protection rights. I don’t want to get too technical since I’m not a legal expert, but I was happily surprised when I realised you are entitled to a meal after 6 hours of continuous working or that some employers are obligated to provide transport back to your home if it’s after midnight and so on. Read up and don’t be hesitant to ask when you are unsure.

I’m afraid I won’t understand the Scottish accent…

Aye, this was a problem for all of us at the start but it’s incredible how fast you tune in! You will also find that a lot of your coworkers will not be native English speakers which makes the atmosphere more welcoming and less intimidating if English is not your first language either.

I need something more specific! Any more help?

So, one of the first places that I looked, was the university itself. Edinburgh Napier offers students the opportunity to become Student Ambassadors or join the Bright Red Triangle team. I can tell you from experience, after a year of being an International and a general Student Ambassador, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It is a safe, fulfilling and encouraging working environment where you develop a range of different skills and at least for me, there aren’t a lot of places that are nicer to work in than a university.

I am also enrolled with different agencies for flexible working. One I can recommend is Off To Work in hospitality, they have an office right here in Edinburgh. I have seen different venues in Scotland, worked in castles or in museums, catering for different events. A good idea if you don’t know where to start is to keep an eye out for part-time work fairs that normally take place at the beginning of the academic year.

You can also upload your CV to websites such as Indeed or the Scotsman and wait for employers to contact you. If you are unsure about your CV, the university has some online templates or offers CV checks throughout the year and mock interviews to help you feel better prepared.

Attention all Tier 4 Visa holders:

At the time of writing, if you arrive in Scotland on a Tier 4 Visa, you are required by law to not exceed a weekly limit of 20 working hours per week.

 

Best of luck with all your searches and as the famous Indian film actress and producer Deepika Paducone once said, ‘’The fruit of your own hard work is the sweetest’’.

Sofia
Sofia is from Greece and is studying MSc Wildlife Biology & Conservation at Edinburgh Napier University.

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