Working Part-Time in the UK

Mar 21, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Part-time work has always been a priority for me. Everyone has their preferences, but I believe part-time work is essential while studying. Even one shift per week can make you feel more independent and confident with your financial situation; a part-time job provides you with spending money, funds for groceries, and even spare cash for a coffee in the morning.


When I arrived in Scotland, I had no prior knowledge of working in the UK. I tried to research job opportunities on my own, but I encountered a lot of conflicting facts and requirements. To make things easier, I’ve listed below all the basics for working part-time in the UK.


Getting Started


It’s important to know your interests. This applies to any location, but it’s especially relevant in a new environment where you’re still finding your feet. You might feel pressured to accept the first job offer you receive, but remember to be selective. There’s nothing worse than becoming stuck in a job you hate. Try to envision yourself in the job. Are the hours decent? Does the work look fun? Will it distract from your studies? A job can set the tone of your time here, so don’t let yourself become trapped in a place that will lead to your unhappiness.


Where to Look


There are plenty of resources for finding jobs, but these are the ones I’ve found helpful so far:



Many universities host seminars and events at the beginning of the year for incoming students, particularly international students. I attended several seminars in September that offered information on settling in the UK. Much of the information was fairly obvious, but the seminars were free, so why not take advantage of them? I went to a useful seminar on part-time work, where I learned about career-related websites and job fairs on campus. These websites and fairs were university-specific, but most schools will offer similar options.



I can’t speak for other UK cities, but Aberdeen is a small, close-knit place. Most bars, restaurants, and shops are linked somehow to one another. With that in mind, your chances of finding a part-time job become more likely if you know other people with jobs. That’s how I found mine. One of my friends used to work at a bar in town. She introduced me to the manager of the bar one evening, and two weeks later I had a job!



This point might be fairly obvious, but it’s always useful to search online for job availabilities in your area. Online job postings typically include job requirements and other specifications, so you can craft your cover letter and resume according to the needs of the company. There’s also no pressure – you can submit your resume whenever you like, from the comfort of your home. 



Visa Restrictions


Canadian students will most likely study in the UK with a Tier 4 Student Visa. This Visa allows you to work part-time, but only up to 20 hours per week. This equates to about 3 shifts per week. I work 2-3 shifts, and I find this is the perfect amount. Money is important, but you need balance while studying abroad. You should make time for studies, friends, and a bit of travelling.


Minimum wage in the UK vs. Canada


Part-time jobs in Canada offer you a standard minimum wage. In Ontario, the minimum wage is $14.00/hour. This price remains the same for anyone working a minimum-wage job. But in the UK, minimum wage differs based on age brackets. I’ve copied a chart below from that illustrates the differences in pay.




25 and over

21 to 24

18 to 20

Under 18


April 2017 (current)






April 2018








My Experience


Part-time work can be incredibly rewarding. I work at a central bar in town, where everyone likes to gather. Friends and employees from neighbouring bars all meet here to socialize. Likewise, we visit neighbouring bars on our breaks. I’ve met dozens of new people just from working here alone. A job can be a great way to boost your social life and offer you loads of new experiences. Just a few weeks ago, we travelled to Glasgow for a staff trip. I had never been to Glasgow before, so this was a great opportunity for me.


A part-time job can elevate your confidence by giving you independence and financial security. But while working part-time is important to some, it can also add unnecessary stress for others. Always weigh your options. If part-time work is not an option for you, there are other routes you can take to improve your financial situation, such as scholarships and loans. The most important thing is to enjoy your time abroad. If you would like more information on working part-time in the UK, please contact one of our ATP advisors.