Cash-strapped undergraduates at Warwick University are to be offered paid work in academic departments as part of a financial aid package to help poor students cope with the higher tuition fees due in 2006, writes Tom Wainwright .
Students whose family income is less than £35,000 a year will be offered part-time jobs in research and support departments, giving them a taste of academic life and earning them an extra £1,000 a year.
Jo Bell, head of student finance at Warwick, said that the scheme was an improvement on the standard university job-shop.
"The difference is that we're going to do it in a structured way, providing work opportunities that are more meaningful than just working in a bar. These jobs can go on the CV and form good work experience, and show them what research work is like," she said.
The university would be sympathetic to the needs of disabled students, she said, and could be flexible to suit undergraduates' academic timetables.
Work will be limited to five hours a week during term time, to limit distraction from study. Pay would be equivalent to roughly £6.70 per hour, based on three ten-week terms.
The National Union of Students cautiously welcomed the scheme. Julian Nicholds, vice-president (education), said: "The unfortunate reality is that most students will have to take up paid work to survive financially. In this respect, we are behind the principle of ensuring that students do paid work that has some relevance to their degree."