Work and Volunteering
Work and Volunteering
These webpages give a basic overview of what international students need to know about working in the UK. Bangor University's Careers & Employabiliy Service give advice and support to students and graduates about looking for and applying for work. So, after you have read through this information, we recommend that you browse the Careers and Employability Service webpages for much more detailed and comprehensive information and guidance.
Did you know? You can use the Careers & Employability Service for up to three years after you graduate from Bangor University!
Looking for work - During your studies
Some students choose to look for part-time work while they are at University. Many students also choose to enhance their employability - and make the most of their time in the UK - by gaining other types of work experience, for example internships, work placements and volunteering.
There are several places to look when you are job searching.
Where should I start looking?
The Careers and Employability Service can help with careers advice, and their Bangor Prospects team can help you to find work locally. Once you have found a job or placement you would like to apply for, they can give you advice about how to make a good application including how to improve your CV and covering letter. They also offer a range of workshops and events such as 'CVs and Application Forms', 'Job Search' e.t.c.
Where else can I look?
The JobCentrePlus (Direct.gov) website has a database of jobs, searchable by job type and location. It also includes other information and advice about looking for work.
JobsWales is another searchable database.
Supermarkets and Shops
Most supermarkets usually advertise vacancies on a board inside the store. They may also avertise on their website.
Shops will often display any job vacancies in their window.
Looking for work - After your studies
The Careers & Employability Service have some really useful information for graduates on their webpages.
Visa information: What are my UK work visa options after I finish my course?
Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills, gain work experience and meet new people.
You can, and should, record any volunteering and other extra-curricular activities that you do with the Bangor Employability Award Team. After you graduate you will get your academic certificate plus an official certificate (called a 'HEAR') which lists any extra-curricular activites that you have been involved with whilst at Bangor University.
To check the visa rules about voluntary work, click on the 'Visa / Work Rules' tab (above).
Where should I start?
Bangor University Careers and Employability Service can give you more information about volunteering. They offer a variety of resources to help with finding volunteer opportunities.
Where else can I look?
The following two websites may help you find a volunteering opportunity to suit you:
Student Volunteering Bangor (Students’ Union)
General Information About Volunteering
UKCISA – UK Council for International Student Affairs
WCVA – Wales Council for Voluntary Action
The following three organisations which act like ‘job centres’ for volunteering opportunities in your local area.
Gwynedd Volunteer Centre
Telephone: 01286 672626
Anglesey Volunteer Bureau
Telephone: 01248 724944
Conwy Volunteer Centre
Telephone: 01492 871110
Different Types of Volunteering
If you have an interest in a particular type of volunteering, e.g. people, environment etc, then you could target specific organisations or places. Here are some ideas to get you started….
“The BFG project was started in 1998 on a quarter hectare field at the University of Wales, Bangor’s research farm in North West Wales. The BFG project has been run entirely by volunteers from the local and student communities, and we’ve transformed the site enormously in this time”.
Moelyci Environmental Centre is a social enterprise which started when a local community bought a farm in their village to prevent it from being re-developed.
“Whether you want to get involved with one of our volunteer days or you are able to help with administrative tasks such as IT maintenance, organising events or minor bilingual translations we’d love to hear from you!”
“Whether you're interested in outdoor activities, inspiring places, nature, castles, historic houses, walking or exploring something new, we have everything…”
“North Wales Wildlife Trust protects and maintains special places where a range of species can thrive”. Volunteering opportunities include: Practical Reserve Work, Survey/Monitoring Work, Marine Awareness, Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities, Tailor-made opportunities to get involved
“You can volunteer for us in hundreds of ways. Explore these pages to find an opportunity that suits you. Read our blog for the latest news and to see what volunteering is really like. Whatever you decide to do, you'll be helping our work for wildlife and the environment”.
“The Snowdonia Society is a registered charity working to protect, enhance and celebrate Snowdonia, its wildlife and heritage. The Society works with local communities, organisations and businesses to achieve this vision”.
“The Students for Treborth Action Group is the student volunteering organisation at Treborth Botanic Garden, Bangor University. As well as holding monthly work parties at the garden, STAG puts on frequent ecology and botanical workshops, trips and other social events”.
“Through more than 40,000 volunteers WRVS helps older people all over the country to stay independent at home and active in their community”.
The WRVS also recruit volunteers to work in the shop and café at Ysbyty Gwynedd (the hospital in Bangor).
You could volunteer at one of the several charity shops on Bangor High Street. Look at the organisations' website or ask in the charity shop for more information.
Your Visa and Work Entitlement
Many international students are entitled to do some part-time work whilst they study in the UK. However, this is not the case for every international student, and even if you are permitted to work, there are certain restrictions on the type of work you can take and the number of hours you can work.
Am I allowed to work in the UK during my studies?
EEA Nationals are free to work unrestricted hours in the United Kingdom without having to get permission to work.
Non-EEA Nationals will normally have a restriction on the amount of hours they are entitled to work and the type of work they can do.
If you have a Tier 4 (general) visa: Work restrictions will be written on the Entry Clearance visa in your passport or on your BRP (visa ID card). You would usually be subject to the following restrictions:
- You can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time (except where the placement is an assessed part of your course)
- You must not engage in business, self-employment or provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer.
- You must not fill a permanent, full-time vacancy.
If you have a 'Student Visitor Visa' or 'Short-term Study Visa' then you are not allowed to work in the UK.
If you have a Dependant visa you can usually work full-time; there are some restrictions (see 'Conditons of Stay' in the PBS Dependant Policy Guidance).
If you are unsure about if you are entitled to work in the UK, contact the International Student Support Office.
Am I allowed to work in the UK after my studies?
If you have a Tier 4 visa which limits you to 20 hours work per week during term-time, after you have completely finished* your course, you are entitled to work full-time until the end of your visa.
* "completely finished" means that you have submitted your final project/dissertation or other final piece of work. So, for undergraduates this will usually be in May/June, and for Masters students this will usually be in September or January (depending on your course start date).
Am I allowed to volunteer in the UK during my studies?
There is a difference between 'voluntary work' and 'volunteering'. If you are doing 'voluntary work' the work restrictions are the same as paid work. If you are 'volunteering' the working hours are unrestricted (as long as it does not affect your studies, of course!). See page 68 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to check the UKVI's definition of 'voluntary work'. If you are not sure about what rules apply to you, you should check with the International Student Support Office.
What are my UK work visa options after I have finished my course?
Work Rules & Regulations in the UK - The Basics
Here is just a summary of what you need to know about working in the UK. See the Gov.uk website for much more information about general employment regulations in the UK.
What is a National Insurance Number and do I need one?
Before you can start work you will need to apply for a National Insurance (NI) Number. All workers in the UK (British and overseas) need a NI number. For more information, see the Careers and Employability Service National Insurance information sheet.
National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. There are different levels of National Minimum Wage, depending on your age. Workers over the age of 25 are paid what is called 'the National Living Wage'.
Rates April 2017:
£7.50 and hour for workers aged 25 and over
£7.05 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24
£5.60 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20
What is Income Tax and do I need to pay it?
Income Tax is a tax on income. Not all income is taxable and you are only taxed on income above a certain level. If you earn less than £11,500 in one tax year, you would not have to pay any income tax.
Nearly everyone who is resident in the UK for tax purposes receives a 'Personal Allowance', which the amount of money you are allowed to earn (or receive) each year tax-free. This tax year (6 April 2017 - 5 April 2018), the basic Personal Allowance - or tax-free amount - is £11,500.
Income Tax is only due on taxable income that is above your tax-free allowance. For example, if you earned £12,000 in one tax year you would only pay income tax on the extra £500. Tax is automatically deducted from your wages.
Although it is unlikely that as a student you will have to pay income tax, you will have to pay National Insurance contrubutions if you earn more than £157 a week on average.
If you pay tax and do not reach your personal allowance in the tax year (or only go over a bit), but have paid tax on all your earnings, you should contact the tax office to claim back any over-paid income tax.
UK Tax system can be quite complicated, and occasionally you may overpayor undepay tax, especially if your earnings vary from month to month. If too much tax has been deducted from your wages, you may be able to claim it back. See the Gov.uk website for information about 'Student jobs: paying tax' and general information about 'Income tax'.
See the UKCISA website for more information about working in the UK with a Tier 4 visa.
The British Council's Education UK website also has a 'Working alongside your studies' section.
Workshops and Events
Bangor University offers a range of workshops and events to support students and graduates to help them increase their skills and employability, from CV writing and interview skills to corporate research and social media presence. These links will give you somewhere to start, but we also recommend that you ask the Careers & Employability Service for other suggestions about where to look for other events and workshops.
Also, see the latest edition of the International Student Newsletter for highlights and updates.
Prepare2GetAhead (Chinese students only)
The Prepare2GetAhead e-learning resource gives an introduction to career planning for Chinese students and provides a step-by-step approach to enable students to develop and create their own career plan. The resource aims to help students to make the most of their time at university and to explore options that interest them, as well as gain relevant skills and experiences.