USEFULSTUDENTS.COM LAUNCHES TO HELP UK STUDENTS COMBAT £12m GRADUATION DEBTS
From today, the 2,400,000 students in the UK can benefit from a new, free, innovative web-based job broker site set to help them to fund their way through university
From today, the 2,400,000 students in the UK can benefit from a new, free, innovative web-based job broker site set to help them to fund their way through university.
Usefulstudents.com, the brainchild of brothers and former Edinburgh University students Andrew and Mike Howes, launches across 20 major university cities in the UK today. The site is the first free online service to match students seeking occasional work to suit their timetables and interests with both businesses and individuals requiring paid support. Current job opportunities listed on the site to date span everything from dog walking and hedge trimming to professional photography and translation services.
Following a successful pilot in Edinburgh, which saw 2,000 students registered and 600 job roles posted within three months, the website - part of Useful Ventures Ltd - is set to help the 481,854 students starting this autumn, who without income from part-time work could be faced with an estimated debt of £25,000[i] each - equating to a combined total of £12m. As well as benefitting those in full time learning, the site is also designed to be of mutual benefit to employers and individuals, who for the first time can access reliable, intelligent, motivated people at competitive rates, without the expense of recruitment agencies.
Students and employers from across the UK can now visit www.usefulstudents.com and register on the site. Jobs that can be posted on the site range from unskilled labouring and gardening to skilled tutoring or coaching - and from simple errands to more complicated web development, administrative, analytical, catering or customer-facing tasks.
Andrew Howes, operations director, said: “The beauty of the site is that it really is tailored to students whilst providing job providers and the general public with a free, easy-to-use recruitment service that puts them in control and gives access to a previously untapped pool of skilled candidates.
“It is estimated that students starting this year will leave with a debt of around £25,000 each. Short term employment while studying helps to alleviate some of this pressure. Whether students need to work to fund their studies, need beer money, or are just looking for some extra experience to boost their CV, Useful Students provides plenty of options.”
The jobs are posted by job providers. Students then apply and submit their profiles that include a photograph of themselves, a personal statement as well as specific reasons why they think that they should be selected for that particular job. When each task is completed, both provider and student evaluate the other through mutual feedback, which is visible to all registered users. This reporting maintains the quality of both jobs offered and work performed.
Mike Howes, commercial director, added: “The whole process is all in the hands of the individual, from the quality of job postings, to the profiles of students applying for jobs – it encourages the same attention to detail and professionalism as CVs and ‘real world’ recruitment processes. The site’s rating and feedback system is such that it encourages students to do a good job, whilst selecting the jobs most suited to their skills. Students are a unique group of potential recruits as their backgrounds, interests and hobbies mean they will have ‘hidden talents’ that they can bring to the most unlikely jobs, as well as banishing the ‘lazy student’ stereotype - all whilst fulfilling a full area of need for job providers!”
The site was originally piloted in Edinburgh in January 2010. Within three months, 2,000 students had registered and 600 job roles were posted. Feedback from students and employers has been positive. One job provider described it as the “perfect platform”, while Kerry Hall from Sheffield Hallam University Union said: “I do think this website seems like a great idea and that it would be beneficial to our students.”
Before developing the business, Andrew and Mike Howes attended Edinburgh University and then pursued their own successful careers; Andrew in sales, marketing and then accountancy, and Mike in founding and developing an internet start-up business, which is an online wine retail site called FindWine.co.uk. The combination of Andrew’s marketing, research and analytical skills and Mike’s online expertise has proved invaluable in developing and implementing the UsefulStudents.com business.
[i] The Push National Student Debt Survey is the largest survey of student finance, revealing that students starting university can expect to owe over £24,000. Latest Survey conducted in 2010.