How to help your child balance work and study whilst at university

The time spent at university can be an expensive few years, however many students find it useful to have a part time job to fund the odd cinema trip and catch up at the Students’ Union. Amy Gray and Claire Brooke from the University of Sheffield’s Career Service have some top tips as to how to help your child balance part time work and study, minimizing your concerns and the holes in their pockets!


  • Try a part time job – It will not only provide them with some extra cash for the essentials of student life, but it can help them develop transferable skills to complement their degree


  • Keep the hours to a minimum – here at the University of Sheffield, we advise students that they shouldn’t work more than 16 hours a week and most universities will have similar guidelines for their students


  • Use their university’s Jobshop to find work – employers who advertise through these are often student friendly and have experience of employing students; therefore are likely to be more flexible about the hours worked by your child. Our university has a “Student Jobshop” ( and an online vacancy service advertising part-time jobs, work experience and graduate positions. We also run a part-time jobs fair at the start of each academic year and a programme of other work experience and graduate fairs throughout the year


  • Remember to ask your child to give their employer as much notice as possible regarding their availability, or if they need to reduce their hours due to academic commitments e.g. during exam hours, or heavy deadline periods. Ensure they plan ahead, and anticipate when they won’t be available to give their employer plenty of notice to find alternative cover


  • On-campus jobs are a great starting point – many students get involved in working in the Students’ Union shop, clerical or marketing work, for example


  • Paid/un paid work experience – this is crucial for expanding your child’s knowledge of a particular sector, learning about how to deal with tricky situations and getting to grips with what they’d like to do on graduation



As long as your child manages their deadlines accordingly, and communicates busy periods with their boss, balancing work with study can prove to be a productive use of their time and sometimes an effective little money spinner!


Amy Gray is the Jobshop Co-ordinator for the Careers Service at the University of Sheffield.

Claire Brooke is the Student Placement Co-ordinator at the University of Sheffield.

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