Ready to Learn, Ready to Earn

A guide to students of working-age picking up much-needed funds over the festive period on a break from their studies.

The effect Covid has had on students and their ability to study and learn has been well publicised, and the government continues to construct a plan that we hope will mean young people of all ages are able to make up the lost ground from the past year-and-a-half.

However, it wasn’t just students’ access to learning that found itself impacted by the pandemic, with youth earnings at record lows given the skeletal nature of certain industries which, traditionally, have provided great job opportunities for young people in between studies, such as the hospitality and leisure sectors.

While ‘Christmas’ may seem like a dirty word to which end we aren’t entirely comfortable about finding creeping into our vocabulary at this time of year, the advice for students returning from university, who are doing A-levels, or even studying at a lower level, is to plan now.

Here’s our guide to encouraging youngsters to land a perfect festive job:

1. Apply now

The golden rule is to get in early. Many industries are only now opening back up to full capacity, so don’t use last year’s opportunities (or lack of them) as a guide to what could be available this Christmas.

Wannabe workers should scope out not just early-advertised opportunities, but also be proactive in pursuing companies and areas in which they would like to work over the festive period. Employers are always much more receptive to applicants who go after opportunities off their own back, rather than just responding to job advertisements.

2. Perception

Students are smart enough to know that you get out what you put in, which is why working outside of studies has always been regarded as an excellent barometer for later life when fully employed. Therefore, it’s never a bad idea to reinforce the fact they are earning now, in order to fund activities in the early part of next year.

3. Experience

When looking for work outside of studies, the primary objective is always to earn money, but it needn’t be the only goal.

If a student is being supported by other means, then volunteer work can really fuel studies and the favourability of a future employer who can see a candidate has continued to seek experience and built skills in a subject or sector outside of studies.

Of course, the perfect scenario is a combination of the two – landing a job that pays money but ticks the box of work experience at the same time.

4. Typical and unusual opportunities

The most buoyant markets for temporary work over Christmas include hospitality, retail, the travel sector, plus post and parcel delivery. While all of these imply the need to travel to a job, more and more opportunities are coming about that may mean work can be done from home. This includes sales and marketing, social media work, or something as leftfield as a Christmas gift wrapper.

5. Realism

The most important thing for young prospective workers to consider is supply and demand – there will be a huge quantity of students reaching out for money during the festive season and although opportunities are coming back, we are still a distance away from where we were pre-Covid.

Be open to any type of work and expect some awkward shifts to be thrown in – who’s for a Christmas Eve, a Boxing Day or a New Year’s Day? On the plus-side, the more unsociable the shift, the higher the hourly rate, so every cloud and all that…