Working in the UK
Working during your studies
Gaining some relevant work experience will help you stand out during the recruitment process for graduate roles in the UK and beyond.
There are plenty of ways to gain valuable experience.
Internships and placements
Internships and placements are types of work experience designed to give you experience and skills relevant to a particular industry. They can vary in length, and may be paid or unpaid.
Placements are usually associated with specific University degree programmes, which may feature a 'year in industry' or other type of structured work experience.
Blog: The value of doing an internship in the UK
Gaining some part-time work during your studies is a great way to:
- earn some extra money
- meet new people and get to know the local community
- develop the skills which graduate employers seek, such as teamwork and communication
At Nottingham, the part-time work agency Unitemps can help you find paid opportunities in the local area.
Other ways to gain experience
There are plenty of opportunities to gain work experience at Nottingham, from taking part in the Nottingham Advantage Award to getting involved with a student society or volunteering in the local community.
Find out more about how to gain work experience
Where can I look for graduate roles?
We've rounded up top sources of vacancies on our Graduate vacancies page. This includes vacancies advertised on My Career, which is a dedicated jobs board for Nottingham students.
Home Office UK Visas and Immigration provides a list of employers who currently sponsor work permits for workers coming from outside of the EU. This list is useful as a starting point for candidates seeking a visa, but needs to be cross-referenced with more detailed information on each company's careers pages.
If you know which industry you'd like to work in, check the Types of jobs pages for more targeted information about how to gain experience and find graduate roles.
Networking is another great way to find out about opportunities. Our Career Mentoring scheme connects you with Nottingham alumni who can provide valuable insights into working in the UK.
Frequently asked questions
How many hours a week can I work during term time and the vacations?
We recommend that you do not work more than 16 hours a week during term time so that your job does not interfere with your studies.
If you are a citizen from the European Economic Area (EEA), you can work in the UK without any restrictions on the type or amount of work you do. If are you a Croatian national you will only be able to work in the UK if you hold a valid accession worker authorisation document (such as a purple registration certificate) or if you are exempt from work authorisation. Croatian students working under a yellow registration certificate will also be required to show a letter confirming placement on their course and proof of the term dates that apply to them.
For non-EEA students you can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations, unless you are writing a postgraduate thesis during the summer term. There are some restrictions on the type of work you can do. If you are allowed to work, this will be outlined on your visa card issued to you by the Home Office Visas and Immigration or on the visa stamp in your passport.
If you have any questions about your entitlement to work in the UK, please read the University's International Office leaflet Working during your studies.
For advice on where to look for part-time or temporary jobs, visit part-time and vacation work.
How do I present my previous non-UK qualifications to UK employers?
Some employers will provide information about how to present non-UK qualifications on their recruitment pages, so check their websites first. It may also be worth contacting their HR department for advice.
If you are asked to provide equivalencies for your qualifications, the following are useful:
- The UCAS website has standard comparisons for non-A Level qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate
- If you can't find what you're looking for on the UCAS website, UK NARIC can assess the equivalency of most qualifications for a fee
Potential employers might be unfamiliar with your previous institution and qualification, so you could highlight specific merits of these (ranking positions, for instance). You might also want to contextualise your academic and extra-curricular achievements by explaining how they meet or exceed expected standards in your home country.
Find more information about the UK recruitment process in our graduate vacancies and making applications sections. An appointment with a member of staff and a review of your CV will also be helpful.
What level of English do UK employers expect?
UK employers expect a good standard of written and verbal English. If you are not a native speaker, try to improve your English during your time in the UK to maximise your chances of finding graduate employment. Getting involved in volunteering
and extracurricular activities
is a great way to improve your communication skills.
Do I need a National Insurance number to work here? How can I get one?
You don't need a National Insurance number to look for jobs, but once you are offered a post you must telephone the Contributions Agency on 0845 6000 643 to apply for it.
You will be invited to an interview held at your local Jobcentre Plus office. It usually takes about six to 12 weeks for your application to be processed, but you can still working during this time. Inform your employers as soon as you have been notified of your permanent NI number.
Find out more on the Gov.uk website.