Students Staff

20 April 2018

Summer time, should the living be easy?

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 11.04 am

In a few years’ time today’s students will have to get used to the four weeks’ annual leave the rest of us enjoy. Do we take pity on our offspring and encourage them to make the most of the long summer holiday ahead or point them in the direction of the local restaurant for a part-time job?Beach Volleyball (300 x 200)

Earning some money can, of course, be a great motivator to get funds back up to an acceptable level for the academic year ahead or  to pay for a nice holiday at the end of the summer.   Boosting CVs can also be an inducement to get some employment over the summer, voluntary or paid.

Our daughter gave several options a go over the three years, combining voluntary and paid work and all seemed to help with the end goal of getting a good job and keeping student debt to a minimum. She  is not an intrepid traveller which would have been an exciting option, preferring (free!) family holidays instead.

Every summer our daughter helps out as a volunteer with a children’s club for a week, providing fun activities for young people who otherwise might not have a break. Whatever she is doing, that week is earmarked in her diary. It is a tiring but enjoyable week and certainly gives her a lot to talk about.

The summer between A Levels and University she took over running the home for us.   It gave us a bit of a holiday too as we set off for work every morning knowing we would have a lovely dinner when we got home (I’m a rubbish cook so that was a real bonus) and the ironing would be done. It also taught some valuable lifeskills as she worked out the menu for the week and got the hang of the vacuum cleaner.  I quite enjoyed it when we were told off for making a mess!

The next summer our daughter landed a job on campus, helping out with the busy events team. That was a very hectic time, working on shifts and at weekends, manning reception and helping to welcome the hundreds of guests who stay here during the holidays. It really boosted her organisational and people skills and has stood her in good stead in her current job.

As well as summer jobs on campus, we also run placements on our unique frontrunners scheme. Students can apply for employment opportunities, which help develop work skills, provide on the job training and pay!

Through our Employability and careers team you can also look to fix up an internship. Essex Interns creates paid internship opportunities that are exclusively for Essex students and graduates. Membership is open to current students and those who have graduated from Essex within the last three years.

Internships can be part-time, or full-time outside of term-time and after graduation, and can vary in length from around six weeks to up to 12 months.

During her second year our daughter set out to get an internship for the summer and, through the University, ended up with a great one in London, which expanded on the  skills she was learning through her degree.   Commuting into the capital every day was definitely an experience and has made her appreciate her 20 minute journey to work now.

By the time she finished her degree, she had her job lined up for a late September start, so the summer was spent relaxing and enjoying sport, reconnecting with old friends and making some new.  This has led to her taking on another voluntary role with young people.

As you can see, she likes to keep busy! It wouldn’t work for everyone, but the experiences gave our daughter confidence and a healthy bank account, which we really appreciate even now.

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