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Earn as you learn

The obvious benefit of earning money, taking on part-time work while you study can significantly boost your employability after graduation.

While qualifications are necessary, employers value work experience very highly. In some sectors, it is vital to demonstrate that you have experience of working in that field to secure a full-time job. Employers look for part-time work on CVs as it helps to show that you are self-motivated, reliable and have experience of the world of work.


The benefits of earn as you learn

Part-time work can be a beneficial experience in a particular profession or sector and provides you with a useful referee outside of the University. It also puts you in a strong position if applying for a full-time job within that organisation as the staff there will know what you are capable of.

It can also give you the opportunity to develop a network of contacts who might look favourably upon any future applications you make.

CVs and applications are all about demonstrating the skills, knowledge and experience you have gained. Part-time work can provide you with the perfect opportunity to gather the evidence for this. These areas include:

  • Positive attitude
  • Self-management
  • Team work
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Application of IT
  • Understanding of business and customer needs


Part-time work opportunities outside of the University

There are many different opportunities to work outside of the university. You need to consider whether you are looking for experiences within a particular subject area or sector or more general work experience. In all cases, you will gain evidence of the transferable skills listed under the benefits of earn as you learn.

You can also make use of the holidays. Don’t forget that shops need extra staff for the Christmas rush, and thus they start to advertise in September.


Ways to find part-time work off campus.

Local newspapers often include job adverts. Online jobs often have student-friendly part-time vacancies.

If you enquire be prepared to be interviewed on the spot, so present yourself smartly and take a CV.

Recruitment agencies may offer part-time work, particularly specialist agencies such as those offering care or catering opportunities.  

Many part-time jobs do not get advertised, they rely on word-of-mouth.

  • Ask around and let people know that you are looking for a job. If you know someone who is giving up a job – you could ask them to recommend you as a replacement.
  • Application is usually in person – bring a CV, references and any documents you may need.

Always Remember:

  • Protect yourself from scam job adverts such as those that ask for money, commission only, or those that ask for personal information such as bank details. Visit Career Service for advice if you are concerned.
  • Use your contacts – ask your friends and fellow students if they know of any opportunities. If you have worked for a shop or bar elsewhere in the country, see if you can transfer to a more local branch.


Tips on looking for part time work

  • Think about what hours you can do. Don’t let work conflict with course timetable
  • Decide what type of work you wish to do, i.e. office work, care work, coaching. Are you trying to gain any particular skills or experiences to help with your future career?
  • Apply for advertised jobs, visit local shops or supermarkets with a CV (Careers Service can provide support and advice for CV writing).  Visit the website www.careers@uct.ac.za for resources
  • Use your contacts, ask your friends and fellow students if they know of any opportunities. If you have worked for a shop or bar elsewhere in the country, see if you can transfer to a more local branch.
  • Use as many sources as you can, and be persistent, follow up any leads or contacts, and be prepared to go back
  • Give yourself time to make high-quality applications, even a short one can take time to complete. Don’t sell yourself short with a poor application, one good quality application is worth 10 rushed ones.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities at work


Protect yourself from scam jobs

Not all job opportunities are legit.  Some are devised to get money out of you. Please be careful.

The following tips might help you spot a scam, don’t forget that if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is!

  • Don’t go for a job which asks you to pay money upfront for equipment or training
  • Avoid jobs in which you have to recruit others into a scheme
  • Commission only and door to door selling don’t provide a guaranteed income for your work
  • Be wary of jobs involving data entry from home
  • Do not give personal or bank details out before you start work


Advice for International Students

Study permits: Working in South Africa

In terms of Section 13 (3) of the new Immigration Act of 2004, a holder of a valid study permit may conduct work for not more than 20 working hours per week, as well as full time during academic vacations. However, please note that you have to be a continuing student in good standing to do this during the long vacation.

IAPO will issue permission for a student to conduct such work activities. A student has to obtain an official letter granting employment from the potential employer before IAPO issues the permission to work.


Part-time work on campus

You can also gain experience here at the University.  UCT is employing students across a whole range of positions right on campus. 

Faculties, departments, student housing and residence employ students part time in various positions.   Library departments and branch libraries recruit Student Assistants independently, so when enquiring about a job, you need to approach the section or branch library where you feel you would like to work.

Recruitment is usually in October / November for the following year, however this varies in some sections and branches. Look out for the advertisements for these posts on Library notice boards and the Libraries’ website.

Careers service has also helped students to find part-time work outside of the University. Click on the link for further details of part time roles


Applying for part time jobs

A part-time job needs a serious and good quality application, so don’t rush it. The application is your chance to make a good impression. There are many ways of applying for part-time work – some informal and some very formal. But regardless of the application process, you will usually need a CV, references and documents. Have everything ready.

If the job is being advertised, you may need to fill in an application form. If you have heard that there are part-time jobs available, then don’t wait for the advert to come out.

  • Do some research into the company – what are they looking for?
  • Find out the name of the contact person
  • Post or drop in a covering letter and a short CV
  • State what you are looking for and how you heard about the job
  • Be prepared to be interviewed on the spot


Careers Service Help and Support

Careers Service is open throughout the year and you are welcome to pop in and use the careers information resources. This area has part time jobs and information about job applications, CVs and interview techniques, and contains information about types of work and making career decisions. You can also book to see a careers advisor on Monday to Friday between 8:30 and 16:30.  Book via MyCareer for an appointment or for further information.


Studying and working

Although working part-time can improve both your employability and your bank balance, it can be difficult to fit everything in. Here are some practical suggestions from the National Association of Student Employment Services to help you successfully combine work and study commitments.

  • Always carry a diary or enter information onto an e-diary so you know what course work dates are and when assignment hand in dates are etc. This will help you to keep track of deadlines.
  • Try to anticipate if a busy time is coming up on your course or at your place of work, plan ahead as much as possible and try to move things around to create a balance.
  • Employers will be more sympathetic if you advise them as soon as you can that you can’t work. Try to suggest practical solutions and take responsibility for any changes in the rota.
  • If you are struggling to balance work and study, talk to someone as soon as you can.
  • Be realistic about what you can fit in – remember there are only 24 hours in a day – don’t over promise then under deliver.
  • Try to cut back on part-time work during exam times. Organise some time off before exams and do not agree to extra shifts or overtime currently.
  • Don’t forget to give yourself time to unwind and relax after work or study.


Earn As You Learn – for Employers

Earn As You Learn is a new program connecting employers who need casual and part-time staff with UCT students studying on campus.

Employers that are registered with Careers Service, advertise your part-time job opportunities.  This will save time and money on recruitment because you will be connected to UCT students.


Benefits for employers

  • Free access to local students looking for casual and part-time work
  • An opportunity to gain a fresh perspective in your workplace, fill short-term contracts, provide holiday staff shortage or cover for busy periods
  • Access to the speciality skills of UCT students, such as marketing and communications, accounting and IT.
  • You will also be supporting UCT students to earn as they learn and help them kick-start their careers.

Employers are responsible and accountable for the recruitment of their vacancies. These include interviewing, candidate selection, job offers and paying the award rate.

For more information contact the Earn As You Learn Program Coordinator on earnasyoulearn@uct.ac.za

Terms and conditions for employers joining the program apply. Register now

The "Earn As You Learn" initiative is a free service provided by Careers Service, however, does not endorse nor recommend any of the employment vacancies submitted, nor guarantee the suitability of candidates who may be shortlisted for such vacancies.