Careers after uni: ‘It’s really easy to get advice at UWE Bristol’

The university’s career services help to guide students in the right direction, offering a wealth of industry placements and work-related learning

Attending his first networking event as a new student, Lewis Nicholson was relieved to walk away with a fistful of business cards. “That was my first taste of networking, and I threw myself in at the deep end. It was nerve-racking.” He’s been honing his business and softer skills with the help of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) ever since.

During his three years of study, he’s won money in a university Dragons’ Den-style competition, set up his own business and worked on live briefs for businesses as part of his degree in business team entrepreneurship. While he enjoys the creativity of building his online tea retail business, Green Panda Tea – a spin-out from one of his degree projects – he’s also been investigating graduate jobs.

“It’s so useful to talk it through with someone – do I want to earn good money but hate what I do, or enjoy being my own boss with little money?” He’s used UWE Bristol’s award-winning career support to try to tackle his dilemma, and has applied for a funded spot in the university’s incubator space for startups. “It’s really easy to get advice and support here if you need it.”

UWE Bristol’s career services spread far and wide across the university. Students can drop in for an immediate chat, says careers consultant Leanne Newton, or they can schedule more in-depth support. Advisers are called “coaches”, to mirror the real world, and they can help with the nuts and bolts of networking, building a personal brand through to rootling out job vacancies – more than 6,000 graduate jobs and internships were advertised by the university last year.

Each academic faculty contains experts with knowledge of particular jobs markets and skills in demand, and industry speakers will visit to give talks. “Careers support is embedded in departments and across campuses,” says Jamie Jordan, a forensic science graduate who now works within the career services.

Students might ask for guidance on navigating the jobs market, finding postgraduate options or selling their skills to potential employers. A recently launched UWE Bristol app, Career Toolkit, allows students to do all of this online if they prefer, and provides hundreds of learning videos and tools such as psychometric testing, CV advice and interview simulations.

Rarely will any student graduate from UWE Bristol without any work experience – the university helps broker a wealth of industry placements and work-related learning. Students undertook more than 9,200 work placements last year – and some departments, such as environment and technology, encourage a full year in industry.

“Everyone knows the graduate market is tough. It’s definitely worth doing more than just your course at university,” says Newton.

And when a student returns from an internship, year in industry or studying overseas, you can see the difference, says Lucy Madahar, deputy director of student success services. “It’s quite a transformation. They return more confident, resilient and with more self-esteem,” she says. “They have developed a work ethic. We have data that shows a direct link between experience in industry and securing a graduate level job, even an improvement in degree results.”

UWE Bristol prides itself on contacts with employers and, crucially, the inside track on who’s hiring and when. A dedicated team work with employers and help secure placements, and the university helps prepare students for the world of work with workshops and advice before their work experience. “Anything so that they can feel confident – from what to wear through to business etiquette,” says Madahar.

 

Students within arts and creative industries generally complete shorter internships, some with Bristol’s creative and television industries – in the past they’ve found work with the likes of Bristol Old Vic Theatre, BBC Earth and independent television studios.

Some 200 employers attended UWE Bristol’s latest annual employers’ fair, the biggest in the south west. In total, more than 630 recruiters have visited campus in the past year, and the university works with large companies such as Santander, the Ministry of Defence, Airbus, L’Oréal, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and PeopleScout. UWE Bristol programmes result in “some of the best emerging graduate talent”, says a spokesperson from government body Defence Equipment and Support, which offers industrial placements to UWE Bristol students. 

 “We also work with hundreds of small businesses, who often want to work with students on live briefs,” says Madahar. “It’s a win-win for all parties.” Students with an urge to travel can volunteer or work abroad – the university has offered about 500 global work and volunteering opportunities. Specialist staff can also help students navigate their way around the vast voluntary sector – with strict criteria enforced by the university to prevent exploitation.

“And UWE Bristol helps broker study abroad, sometimes with financial support. We have more than 100 students signed up to take part in the Erasmus (study abroad) programme in 2019/20, with costs being covered as usual. Beyond then, we’ll have to see what Brexit brings,” says Madahar.

Students from low-income families or those who’ve been in care are also supported, she says, with a scheme that provides mentorship to build self-confidence. Another student programme, Equity, focuses on supporting black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students with coaching and mentoring.

Over the past four years, the number of UWE Bristol students using careers services has continued to rise. “So we know the message is getting through,” says Newton. “What we offer is unique.”

Home Office reverses visa decision for second Oxford academic

US professor’s daughters can now join her – but Leicester offers no help to its researcher fighting deportation to DRC

The Home Office has made a sudden U-turn on its decision to ban the young children of an Oxford University professor, Amber Murrey, from living with her in the UK – the second time in a week it has reversed a visa refusal for the child of an Oxford academic following reports in the Guardian.

Now the university and the elite Russell Group of universities, of which Oxford is a member, are calling on the Home Office to change its rules on child visas.

But some angry overseas academics say that other universities are not doing enough to fight their corner against the Home Office.

And academics say the government’s aggressive tactics are putting off talented international applicants from moving to the UK.

Prof Murrey’s case, revealed three weeks ago, sparked outrage. Murrey, an associate professor of geography, described her “complete disbelief” at learning the Home Office had rejected applications for dependent child visas for her daughters, aged four and nine, to join her in Oxford. Her husband has business commitments in Cameroon, where he is from, and both parents had given written consent for the girls to be with their mother until the family could live together.Last week Murrey, who had filed an appeal to the Home Office on the grounds that they had not read the evidence properly, received a letter saying the visas would be issued after all. No explanation was given for the change of heart.

She says: “It is wonderful news, but I will feel nervous until I actually receive the visas. My daughters will be here to start school next month. They will both be very happy to be back with me.”

Just days before, the Home Office had reversed a similar decision to refuse a visa to the nine-year-old son of Dr Wesam Hassan, a GP from Egypt beginning a PhD at Oxford. It had ignored the fact that Hassan’s husband is a humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations in Yemen, designated a “non-family station” because of the conflict there.

Her son, having been shut out of the UK, has been living with her sister in Egypt. She says the separation has caused “trauma” for her family.

Universities say these are far from isolated cases, with many other international academics facing similar obstacles when trying to bring their children into the country. Oxford University lobbied the Home Office hard on Murrey’s behalf, including suggesting that the government was violating European law on children’s rights by splitting up her family.

However, not all academics have enjoyed such support. Last week the Guardian reported on plans to deport Dr Furaha Asani, a young academic at Leicester University, to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world – which she had never visited.

Leicester has not offered Asani any legal or other support. The university said it was “committed to inclusivity” but unable to influence Home Office decisions.

Mark Pendleton, lecturer in Japanese studies at Sheffield University and co-founder of the campaign group International and Broke, says: “If being an international university is to mean anything, it must at the very least mean defending non-UK staff when they come under threat of deportation and providing them with material support.”

He says migrant staff have been asking universities for help with Home Office problems for years and getting “little to no support”.

Ben Moore, immigration policy analyst at the Russell Group, says that although the government has sent some positive signals about supporting science after Brexit, the rule on child visas “appears to tell highly sought-after academics ‘We want you, but your family aren’t welcome’. That doesn’t work.” Leicester has not offered Furaha Asani legal or other support in her fight against deportation. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

An Oxford spokesperson says: “We are delighted to see that the Home Office has reversed its ruling [in the cases of Murrey and Hassan]. We hope the government will now review its policy on visas for dependants, which has a disproportionate impact on women with children, as well as a detrimental effect on British universities’ ability to attract the very best academics from abroad.”

Murrey says: “I know how widespread this is just from the emails I’ve received. Every person has a complicated story, but it is always heartbreaking.” She argues that many cases never come to light because families simply decide not to come to the UK when their children’s visas are denied.

In both of Murrey and Hassan’s cases the visas were refused because of a Home Office rule that a child may only be given a visa if both parents are living in the UK, unless the parent living here has sole responsibility.

Dr Vicky Lewis, who runs a consultancy advising universities on international strategy, says: “I have heard numerous examples of institutions not being able to recruit the people they’d like because of the hostile environment and the hurdles people have to jump through. It can mean losing the best candidates.”The Academy of Social Sciences is calling for the government to strike a special sector deal making universities “trusted sponsors” of international staff, with a much lighter-touch system and no minimum salary thresholds.

Sharon Witherspoon, head of policy at the academy, says they have heard many cases of researchers being refused visas to work in the UK, foreign academics being blocked from attending conferences, and researchers turning down UK job offers because of the visa costs or bureaucracy.

“Aside from the individual injustices, this system is far too difficult to navigate and doesn’t support knowledge or research,” she says. “The rules are ever more complicated and Byzantine and it is easier and easier for people to fall foul of them.”

Dr Jess Perriam, an Australian lecturer in social science at the Open University, says that both academics and universities have become terrified of the Home Office.

“If you’ve come over here as a student since 2012 you are acutely aware of how precarious your situation is. The Home Office rules are Kafkaesque and there is a fear for both the academic and the university that you won’t know you’ve done something wrong until the Home Office comes knocking.”

The Home Office says its child visa policy is designed to protect children and the family unit, but it keeps all rules under constant review. A spokesperson said: “We welcome international academics from across the globe.”

Degree apprenticeships in focus

The NHS apprenticeships offering a new route to health and social care

As health and social care faces ongoing recruitment woes, new degree-level apprenticeships put clinical careers back in reach for more applicants

The first degree-level apprenticeships in physiotherapy and occupational therapy are due to be launched in April, offering an alternative earn-while-you-learn route to professional qualification. And this autumn the first apprentices are expected to start the new degree-level qualification in social work.

These new professional apprenticeships are creating alternative career paths in health and social care and are also addressing the continuing workforce recruitment and retention problems. They fit alongside a growing and diverse portfolio of other new lower-level apprenticeships. The NHS alone has 350 different job roles – 120 of which have an apprenticeship route, 30 are degree-level.

Fears for NHS as apprenticeships fail to plug gaps left by Brexit brain drain

 “Parents, pupils and teachers often tell me they didn’t realise that the NHS offered apprenticeships; and it’s still perceived that those we do offer are only in trades,” says Lucy Hunte, national programme manager at Health Education England, the government agency for workforce planning and training. “The apprenticeships we offer are growing all the time – horticulture, child care and hospitality – but the biggest change has been in clinical roles.”

Apprenticeships have always been core to the health and social care workforce, as the sectors have traditionally looked to grow their own staff. But the recent apprenticeship reforms – giving employers the lead in deciding the future employee skills they need – have been transformative, according to Suzanne Ratcliffe, head of learning and development at Care UK, one of the largest care providers for older people in the UK. Some 6% of its workforce are on apprenticeship programmes – going up from 380 to 511 in the past year.

“In the past, training providers would offer a standard care service module. Now we have a greater say on what qualifications are being delivered in the sector – they are much more relevant,” she says. “Maintenance apprentices, for example, now learn about facilities management, and business administration now has modules in customer service.”

New hybrid roles are also emerging, such as the healthcare assistant practitioner who can work across health and social care. And more than 100 of the first cohort of apprentice nursing associates – a new bridging role between healthcare support worker and nurse – have just qualified and registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The move was described as a “landmark moment” by its chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe; another 1,800 are due to register in the coming months. Dr Toni Schwarz is deputy dean of the faculty of health and wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University, which launches its physiotherapy and occupational therapy degree apprenticeships in April. She says: “This is about widening participation – it gives us access to people who perhaps wouldn’t have come through the traditional university route. It’s about employees being supported by their employer.”

In the past, people may have seen apprenticeships for those with low skills and no qualificationsAislinn O’Hara, Leeds NHS trustSince April 2017, NHS and other public sector employers with more than 250 staff in England are expected to have at least 2.3% of their workforce starting an apprenticeship every year, according to a government target. Leeds teaching hospitals NHS trust has already exceeded that number. Last year, apprentices accounted for 3.4% of its workforce and since 2015 it has increased its apprenticeships by 51% each year. This year, it’s planning to introduce 700 more apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships boost workforce diversity and offer new education and training opportunities to people who may have missed out first-time around, says its manager for education, learning and organisational development Aislinn O’Hara: “We have worked hard to make working in the NHS accessible to as many people as possible.

“In the past, people may have seen apprenticeships only for those with low skills and no qualifications. Some of those perceptions have stayed in people’s minds, but apprenticeships can be for everybody – the majority here are between 24 to 35 and our oldest is 63.”

Experience: ‘Apprenticeships have broadened my skills’

Many apprentices are confident in the workplace but keen on gaining academic knowledge to progress further

Apprenticeships are helping Dan Clay fulfil his ambition to become a physiotherapist. He is halfway through completing a two-year assistant practitioner apprenticeship – a new generic role in the physiotherapy and occupational therapy team, where he supports older people to live independently at home. Once complete, Clay hopes to take the next step up the ladder and become one of the UK’s first apprentice physiotherapists. He says: “I feel passionate about physiotherapy – I can see the impact that it has on people’s lives. But when you have a mortgage and bills to pay it’s difficult to go down the traditional degree route.”

If you are put through training to progress and are getting paid, you are more likely to stayDan Clay, apprentice practitionerClay, 27, became a support worker for adults with learning difficulties when he left school, admitting that university wasn’t for him: “I didn’t have enough Ucas points but I also felt it wasn’t for me.”

He went on to train as an NHS therapy assistant – working alongside physiotherapists in the community – and then progressed to become a technical instructor in a therapy team at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS foundation trust.

Now Clay works there as a therapy assistant practitioner in a multi-professional team including physiotherapists and occupational therapists. He supports people who are medically fit to be discharged home from hospital and is part of the crisis response team helping to keep older people at home who are at risk of being admitted to hospital. Clay says: “Apprenticeships have helped me a lot – they have broadened my skills and I am able to apply what I learn day to day at work.

“I think with apprenticeships you have people who already know how to do their jobs very well but want to go through training to progress further in their career. They have the experience but just need the academic side, which they can gain through the apprenticeship. It’s about recognising that experience has value. It’s also better for recruitment and retention – if you are put through training to progress, and you are getting paid, you are much more likely to stay.”

Retraining experienced NHS medics: ‘They don’t care if you are 60 or 16′

Paramedics, nurses and healthcare assistants are adapting existing skills for new roles with the help of apprenticeships

Age has been no barrier to Jed Bates’ ambition to become one of the first nursing associates – a brand-new bridging role between healthcare assistant and registered nurse.

The 61-year-old has just qualified after completing the two-year apprenticeship and now plans to continue down the same route to degree-level and become a qualified nurse. “I never thought I’d ever go to university. I left school at 16 and have been working all my life. I was quite happy with the way my life was going and there was no way that I could afford the £9,000 tuition fees. But with the apprenticeship, all that gets paid for.

 ‘I had to retrain my brain to be academic – but I got a lot of useful guidance in how to do things’: Bates

Bates, who works in the emergency department of Peterborough city hospital, says: “I was definitely the ‘grandfather’ on the course. But I think the NHS is at the forefront of the apprenticeship drive; they don’t care if you are 60 or 16 – if you have the skills they want they will take you on and train you and keep you, and that’s the best way forward.”He was attracted to the new role when he began working as a healthcare assistant after leaving his job as a paramedic clinician. He says: “At the time, I was looking to slow down. I’d only been working at my new job for a few months when this new role was announced. It sounded interesting and I could see that there was a need for this link between healthcare assistant and nurse. I was quite content in my current job but I realised that I wanted to do more. As a nursing associate, I can do around 60% of a registered nurse job, which means the nurses are then freed up to care for more complex patients.”

Bates enjoyed the apprenticeship because he could immediately see the value of what he learned. “You practise on Monday then do it on Tuesday. All the time you are applying what you learn and how you behave with people.” But he admits it was tough going back to writing essays. “I’d not done anything academic for more than 40 years, so it was quite challenging to write 3,000 or 5,000 words – I had to retrain my brain. But I got a lot of guidance in how to do it and my mentor at work would tell me: ‘Think about doing it like this.’”

He reveals, however, that in the early days there was some tension between the apprentices and those students following the traditional nursing degree path. “We used to mix on placements,” he says. “I think at the beginning there was a lot of dissatisfaction from the degree nurses and students because they had to pay for their training and we didn’t; but once we sat down and talked to them they could see the need for the role. Today, the role is more accepted – people can see the value of what we do. We’ve improved patient care – patients say they have noticed the difference, and there’s been an increase in plaudits and a reduction in complaints.”

Looking for the best credit cards for students studying abroad?

Finding a great student credit card can make it easier to manage your money, and even earn you rewards and cash back on your spending. However, getting the perfect card to fit your needs might take a bit of research, as there are many different products out there to consider.

Managing money in multiple currencies? TransferWise could help.

TransferWise is a new and bold finance specialist who aims to make money borderless with their multi-currency account and the linked Mastercard debit card. It could work out to be up to 4 times cheaper for spending abroad, compared to PayPal and banks.

There’s no sign-up or maintenance fees, no foreign transaction fees and you’ll have dozens of currencies at your fingertips.
There won’t be any markup on your foreign exchange rate either – TransferWise always gives you the mid-market rate on all transactions.

You’ll find more about the card in the article below. If you’re feeling impatient, just click here to take a look and see how it works.

Things to consider when selecting your card

The right card for one person might not be the best pick for the next. It’s worth investing time in reviewing some different card options, to help you find the one which best suits you.

Here are some things to think about when you compare cards:

If you’re about to head off to study abroad, you’ll want to check your card can be used easily wherever you’re headed. For example, MasterCard and Visa tend to have good global acceptance, while Discover cards are less frequently used in some areas of Europe. Luckily the major card providers offer tools to help you check where you can use your card, and find ATMs which will allow you to withdraw cash. Check out Discover’s global acceptance, or find an ATM for MasterCard through the links.

2.What are the foreign transaction fees?

Spending abroad using a US issued credit card can come with extra fees. You’ll want to check out:

  • the foreign transaction costs,
  • the exchange rate offered,
  • and also look out for extra charges such as international ATM fees or cash advance charges.

Get a good overview of the range of fees you might come up against before you choose the right card for your needs.

3.Does the card offer any travel insurance or support if it’s lost or stolen overseas?

It’s good to know that** some credit cards come with automatic travel insurance**, which means that you can get extra protection if you book travel tickets using the card. It’s also worth checking out the card issuer’s emergency assistance options. If your card is lost or stolen overseas you’ll need a way to get a new card, and even some quick cash, to pay your way. Some card issuers offer this as a feature, which could offer an extra bit of support when you need it.

4.Can I get a chip and PIN card?

In many destinations you’ll be expected to have a chip and PIN enabled card. To make life easier, choose a credit card issuer which will give you one as standard.

5.Can I get added to a family member’s card as an authorized user?

A final thought to consider – as well as or instead of getting your own credit card – is to become an authorized user on another card. You may be able to get added to your parent’s card, for example. If they have a premium card type which offers great rewards, this could work out well for you all. However, be aware that the spending of all authorized users can impact your credit history – be responsible with your card or risk poor credit ratings.

Student credit cards for studying abroad

The right credit card for your needs will depend on your credit history, spending patterns and personal preferences. It’s worth doing your research as there are many options out there to consider – from cards which reward travel and overseas spending, to products which are open to customers with a limited credit history, and everything in between.

Here are a couple of good picks to get you started:

Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students ¹

Bank of America offers several specific student credit card products, including this one which comes with great rewards for regular travelers. If your focus is on getting rewards for your spending this could be the card for you.

  • Bonus offer of additional points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days your card is open
  • Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent, and redeem whenever you want – no blackout dates to worry about
  • No annual fee, and no foreign transaction fee – although you’ll need to check the exchange rates used for currency conversion as there may be a markup applied
  • Introductory 0% APR, followed by 17.24%-25.24% depending on your credit score at the point you open the account – this APR will rise to up to 29.99% indefinitely in the event of late payment

Discover it Student Cash Back ²

Discover offers various student perks including a reward for good grades, cashback and rewards. Get a $20 credit for each year you hit a 3.0 GPA, for up to 5 years as an incentive to hit those books.

  • No annual fee
  • 1%-5% cashback depending on where you spend, with an opening offer which means Discover will double the cash back you receive in your first year
  • Check your credit score every month, and automatically turn the card on and off if you need to secure it
  • 0% APR for the first 6 months, followed by 15.24%-24.24% depending on your credit history
  • Cash advance fee of $10 or 5% of the advance value
  • Balance transfer fee of 3%-5%

Secured MasterCard from Capital One ³

One challenge many students face is getting a credit card when they have little to no credit history. Banks may be unwilling to offer a card until you build some evidence that you can use credit responsibly. In this case, a secured credit card – where you pay an initial security deposit prior to using the card – may help you build a credit history, and allow access to other credit options in future.

  • No annual fee to pay – just a refundable security deposit of $49-$200 to allow access to credit
  • Your credit line could increase as long as you prove you’re able to make regular repayments
  • No foreign transaction fees, and 24 hour help if your card is lost or stolen, including access to an emergency cash advance if you need it
  • Get travel insurance free if you use your card to buy travel tickets

TransferWise debit card for studying abroad

Depending on your spending habits, a credit card might not be the right option for you. Instead you might consider getting a debit card designed for people living, working or studying abroad, such as the TransferWise multi-currency MasterCard.

This smart new card is linked to a TransferWise multi-currency borderless account, which lets you hold money in over 40 different currencies, and access simple currency conversion which uses the mid-market exchange rate. That means you can pay money into your account in dollars, and switch it to the local currency wherever you’re studying, for just a low transparent charge. Then use your card to spend any currency your hold fee free wherever you see the MasterCard logo, or to make withdrawals at local ATMs. You’ll be able to withdraw up to the equivalent of $250 a month for free, with a small fee to pay after that.

You can open a borderless account online in just a few simple steps, and manage your money on the go with a simple to use app. See if you can save time and money with TransferWise today.


Some tips for using a card abroad

Let’s close with a few final thoughts on making the most of your card abroad – and avoiding unnecessary costs while you study overseas:

  • Let your bank know your travel plans and make sure they have the correct contact details for you. If they suspect suspicious activity they need to know how to contact you to check everything is OK – or they may block your card entirely
  • Get familiar with the exchange rate used by your card issuer. Compare it with the mid-market rate – the one you’ll find on Google – to check you know how much overseas spending is really costing you
  • If you’re asked whether you want to pay in dollars or the local currency, always choose to pay in the local currency. This is an example of Dynamic Currency Conversion – a sneaky way some ATM operators and merchants try to increase fees and offer poor exchange rates
  • Choose a chip and PIN card, with no foreign transaction fees, for the most simple – and often cheapest – spending overseas
  • Travel with more than one card, ideally across two or more networks, so you have a backup if one card is lost, stolen, or not accepted in your destination
  • Avoid credit card cash advances – the fees and interest you pay tend to make this an extremely expensive way of getting your hands on cash

While finding the right student credit card for your needs might feel a little daunting, you’ll be able to get the right product for you with a little research. Think about how you intend to use your card to get the best combination of convenience, low fees, and rewards – and enjoy your time studying abroad without worrying about excessive bank charges.

Sources:

  1. BoA – Credit cards for students
  2. Capital One – Discover it® Student Cash Back
  3. Capital One – Secured Mastercard®

Having a baby in Canada? Hospital, midwife, delivery, and IVF costs.

Expecting a new baby can quickly become stressful if you’re a foreigner living abroad. Every country has its own complex healthcare system. As an expat, you might be faced with high medical expenses and confusing choices.

There are close to 390,000 babies born in Canada every year and if you’re about to be one of these lucky new moms, this guide is for you. Read on for average costs for fertility treatments, delivery, and medical expenses related to having a baby in Canada.

How much does in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) cost in Canada?

The world’s first ‘test tube baby’ was born in 1978. Since then there has been a range of medical advancements, including IVF treatments, to help couples who struggle to conceive. After all, nearly 1 in 8 couples struggle to conceive at some point. But how much do fertility treatments really cost?

Can a non-resident or visitor on a tourist or other visa go through IVF or fertility treatment? Is medical tourism a thing in Canada?

If you’re a non-resident, visitor, or a tourist in Canada, you can visit a private IVF clinic for treatment. However, it’s likely that you’ll pay out-of-pocket prices and not qualify for any financial assistance, unless it’s covered by your international medical insurance plan. In general, due to Canada’s global healthcare, Canada is a centre for medical tourism. However, for specialised elective treatments like IVF, it’s not necessarily cheaper to receive treatment there.

Average costs related to IVF in Canada

The local currency in Canada is referred to as the Canadian dollar. It’s written as CAD or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar currencies. If you’re looking to compare C$ to your local currency, use an online currency converter.

IVF fertility treatment in Canada Average cost (CAD)
IVF process (total costs) C$7,750 – C$25,000
In vitro fertilization (IVF) fertility drugs C$2,500 and C$7,000
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) C$200 – C$1500
Donor eggs or embryos Prohibited in Canada
Frozen embryo transfer (FET) C$100 – C$1,500
Embryo storage, yearly C$150 – C$300

Is there any type of financial assistance or health insurance that will cover part or all of the IVF procedure in Canada?

The public health systems in some of Canada’s territories and provinces offer financial assistance for IVF treatments. For example, Ontario offers one fully funded IVF cycle in a woman’s lifetime and Quebec offers financial assistance for childless couples in the form of tax credits or rebates. There are certain restrictions on who qualifies so you should check the rules in your territory. Some private IVF facilities also offer assistance.

How much does having a baby cost in Canada with or without insurance?

Canada has public healthcare in the form of a state-funded Medicare system. If you’re a citizen or permanent resident, you can access this healthcare system. With it, the costs of having a baby range from being completely free to costing a couple hundred dollars for private rooms.

Tourists, visitors, and non-residents will have to pay the bills out-of-pocket unless they have international health insurance which will cover the charges. Here is what it might cost to have a baby in Canada without insurance or access to the Canadian Medicare system:

  • A regular birth:C$5,000 – C$8,000
  • A c-section birth: C$10,000 – C$12,000

Can a non-resident or visitor on a tourist or other visa deliver a baby in Canada? Is birth tourism a thing in Canada?

If you need to deliver your baby while you’re in Canada as a non-resident, visitor, or tourist you will be able to get medical care that you need. However, the Canadian healthcare system won’t cover the costs. You should have international medical insurance if you don’t want to pay the costs out-of-pocket.

Birth tourism is popular in Canada because it’s one of the few developed nations that grants any baby born in Canada the right to become a Canadian citizen, irrespective of the status of their parents’ citizenship or visa status.

Average costs of delivering a baby in Canada

Baby delivery medical procedures in Canada Average cost with no insurance Average cost with insurance or Medicare coverage/rebates
Prenatal doctor visit and care, per visit C$100-C$150 C$0
Prenatal ultrasound C$300 – C$500 C$0 – C$300
Birth and delivery in the hospital C$5,000- C$8,000 C$0 – C$1,000
Cesarean section in the hospital C$10,000 – C$12,000 C$0 – C$1,000
Home birth and delivery with midwife C$2,500 C$860-C$2,500

What’s the average stay in a Canadian hospital like after having a baby?

From prenatal care to resting in the maternity ward after birth, most new moms in Canada will be in the hospital for just a brief time.

Average hospital stay for new moms in Canada

The average hospital stay for new moms after a vaginal delivery is 2 – 3 days. If the delivery was via c-section, the stay increases to approximately 4 days.

Items moms need to bring to the hospital when delivering a baby

You’ll want to bring your prenatal medical records and extra comfort items, toiletries, and clothes for mom and the new baby.

What documents do I need to have a baby in Canada?

When you go to the hospital to have your baby you should bring copies of:

  • Your birth plan
  • Your medical records if you have them
  • Healthcare and/or insurance cards
  • Passports and visas (if applicable)
  • Social insurance numbers (if applicable)

How do I register my baby in Canada?

Each province or territory has its own process for registering your baby’s birth, so you should check with your local authorities for more information. For example in Ontario, the baby should be registered in the first 30 days. When you register online you can simultaneously register for your baby’s birth certificate, social insurance number, and sign up for Canada’s child benefits.

If I am not a Canadian national but have a baby in Canada, will my child have to choose between nationalities or will they get Canadian citizenship?

Any baby born in Canada has the right to become a Canadian citizen, no matter the citizenship or visa status of the parents. After registering your child’s birth and applying for the long-form birth certificate as proof of Canadian citizenship, you can apply for the baby’s Canadian passport by:

  • Completing the application form
  • Gathering proof of the child’s Canadian citizenship
  • Gathering two passport photos
  • Gathering proof of parentage or legal guardianship
  • Finding a guarantor
  • Paying the applicable fees
  • Sending all documents to: Government of Canada, Passport Program, Gatineau QC K1A 0G3, Canada

How long is maternity leave in Canada? What about paternity leave?

Canadian parents are eligible for maternity and parental benefits if they’ve worked at least 600 hours in the prior year. There’s an 18-month parental leave option which lets them earn up to 33% of their normal weekly earnings, or a 12-month option which gives parents 55% of their normal weekly earnings.

Juggling lives between two nations? Want to save money? Transfer Wise borderless multi-currency accounts could help.

Expats living in a new country often feel like their lives are split between two places. TransferWise can help you with that. TransferWise makes exchanging money less complicated, by offering the mid-market exchange rate that banks use. No hidden charges or markups involved. Recently, TransferWise added a new borderless multi-currency account, which lets you manage money in dozens of currencies, Canadian dollar included.

TransferWise borderless multi-currency accounts are supported for consumers and businesses living in the following countries

Aland Islands Chile Greece Martinique Portugal Thailand
American Samoa China Greenland Mayotte Puerto Rico Turks and Caicos Islands
Andorra Christmas Island Guernsey Micronesia Reunion United Arab Emirates
Anguilla Cocos (Keeling) Islands Guyana Monaco Romania United Kingdom
Antartica Cook Islands Haiti Mongolia Saint Helena United States of America
Armenia Costa Rica Holy See (Vatican) Montenegro Saint Kitts and Nevis Uruguay
Aruba Croatia Hungary Montserrat Saint Lucia
Australia Czech Republic Iceland Morocco Saint Pierre
Austria Denmark Indonesia Nauru Saint Vincent’s & Grenadines
Bahamas Dominica Ireland Nepal Saint-Martin
Barbados Dominican Republic Isle of Man Netherlands San Marino
Belgium Faroe Islands Israel and the Occupied Territories New Caledonia Sao Tome and Principe
Benin Fiji Italy Niue Seychelles
Bermuda Finland Jamaica Norfolk Island Singapore
Bhutan France Jersey Norway Slovenia
British Indian Ocean Territory French Guiana Republic of Korea Palau Slovakia
British Virgin Islands French Polynesia Latvia Paraguay South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Brunei Darussalam French Southern Territories Liechtenstein Peru Spain
Bulgaria Georgia Luxembourg Philippines Sweden
Canada Germany Malaysia Pitcairn Switzerland
Cape Verde Great Britain Malta Poland Taiwan

This list of countries is constantly expanding, so if you can’t find your country of residence on the table above, contact softtours directly or check to make sure it’s not on the list of borderless ineligible countries.

Transfer Wise borderless multi-currency accounts support transfers and switching with the following currencies

AED GEL MXN SGD
AUD GBP NOK TRY
BGN HKD NPR UAH
CAD HRK NZD USD
CHF HUF PEN ZAR
CZK ILS PLN
DKK JPY RON
EUR KES SEK

Transfer Wise borderless multi-currency accounts can generate local bank details in the following regions / currencies

  • USD
  • GBP
  • AUD
  • EUR

If you’re going to become a new parent in Canada, you’re in luck. Refer back to this post for all of your questions about prenatal care and the birth process in Canada.

Welcome to Manc-hattan: how the city sold its soul for luxury skyscrapers

Giant towers are sprouting up all over Manchester. But how will sky lounges and penthouse olive groves help the city’s rocketing homelessness problem?

‘Hell upon Earth” is how Friedrich Engels described Manchester’s Angel Meadow. This violent, squalid, disease-ridden district was one of the worst slums the revolutionary German thinker encountered on his tour of Victorian England. Everything about the place, he wrote in 1844, “arouses horror and indignation”.

Visiting today, he might be tempted to use the same words, for very different reasons. On either side of the leafy park, which undulates over the graves of 40,000 Victorian paupers, the bulky concrete frames of new apartment blocks are beginning to rise. They will ultimately become 17- and 22-storey slabs that will in turn be dwarfed by a 41-storey tower, all surrounding the park with a glacial wall of “ultra-sleek urban homes”. And not a single one affordable.

This is MeadowSide, a £200m development by the Far East Consortium, a Hong Kong developer registered in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands. This site – once the gateway to medieval Manchester and depicted in the paintings of LS Lowry – is being ripped up to make way for 756 luxury homes, many already sold off-plan to investors in Hong Kong. Brochures in the marketing suite describe it as a place “where glass meets grass and concrete meets conkers”. It’s also where the forces of international capital meet a city seemingly open to investment at any cost.

 “I’m sick of my city being strip-mined,” says Sam Wheeler, councillor for the Piccadilly ward, where the blocks are sprouting. “If you’re going to trash the nature of the area, but you’re doing it to address the housing crisis, maybe we could have a conversation. But these schemes aren’t even providing the homes Manchester desperately needs.”

According to government figures, there are now almost 2,000 households living homeless in temporary accommodation in Manchester, a six-fold increase over the last five years. The city’s homeless population is more than 4,000, the highest rate in northern England, and nearly 13,500 households are on the social housing waiting list. How many social homes were built last year? Just 28.

Yet Manchester is visibly booming. Cranes cluster across the skyline and the concrete liftshafts of future towers dot every corner. The city is even beginning to look drunk on its own success. Brash billboards herald the latest luxury lifestyle concepts: Moda Angel Gardens offers a rooftop sports pitch, cinema and “sky lounge”, with every aspect of its residents’ lives managed through an app.

Oxygen will have five-star hotel facilities and “breathtaking views of a rising global destination”. The brassy Axis Tower, which looks as if the architect’s screen crashed halfway through designing the facade, is “a true epitome of exclusivity and architectural grandeur”. Despite the council having a policy of 20% affordable housing in all new developments, none of these schemes provide any.

As the Guardian revealed last year, across the 61 big residential developments granted permission by Manchester’s planning committee over the previous two years, not one of the 14,667 homes met the government’s definition of affordable, being neither for social rent nor offered at 80% of the market rate. The flood of steroidal schemes that have been rubber-stamped in the lust for growth is now becoming very visible: this is the most radical physical transformation of any UK city for some time.

At the forefront is Deansgate Square, a quartet of enormous grey glass towers that will stand like a defensive battery against the estates of Hulme to the south of the centre. Rising to a whopping 64 storeys, the development is billed as “a new level”. Manchester City’s star striker Sergio Agüero has already snapped up a penthouse. “It’s taller than anything I imagined was going to happen here,” says the project’s architect, Ian Simpson. He sounds almost surprised at what he has been allowed to do, dwelling on the tallest of the Deansgate four. “It’s the city’s first proper skyscraper, at over 200 metres.” On his desk is a model of the area around Great Jackson Street, showing where the Deansgate shafts will take their place – among a cluster of 25 other towers, the composition of which Simpson also planned. “It’s going to be a mini Manhattan,” he says. “It’s starting to create a real skyline, which Manchester has never had.”

Posters have already appeared announcing the birth of “Manc-hattan”. But the truth is we are a long way from that uplifting skyline. This is more like something you’d see on the outer ring road of a third-tier Chinese city.

The flanks of the Deansgate towers now loom above Simpson’s office, located in a converted warehouse. Simpson can’t escape them at home either. He lives in a huge duplex – complete with its own olive grove – at the top of nearby Beetham Tower. Completed in 2006, Beetham is itself 47 storeys tall, making it, until last year, the city’s tallest structure. “Looking out at night,” he says, “all I see is red aircraft warning lights.”

It sounds like an irritant, but for Simpson this red panorama symbolises the realisation of his quest to make Manchester a mecca for high-rise, city-centre living. “Manchester’s city core had about 400 people living in it when the IRA bomb went off in 1996,” he says. “Now it’s got about 35,000. I’d like it to have 200,000, because the one thing the city needs is people. That drives everything else.”

Simpson says the centre “used to be a ghetto for people who couldn’t get out”, but now it’s a desirable place – and it needs the swanky flats to match. “Part of the problem,” he adds, “is that there aren’t enough expensive homes in the city.”

Simpson believes this influx of luxury flats should be welcomed, because it means that those who would otherwise be driving in from the affluent commuter suburbs – Altrincham, Wilmslow, Didsbury – will now be able to live in the centre. The absence of affordable housing, he argues, is a consequence of financial viability. “It’s really difficult to build a tall building cost-effectively. None of these developers really make super profits in Manchester. It’s not at all like London

Renaker, the developer-builder behind Deansgate Square and a large number of towers nearby, seems to be doing quite well out of it. In its most recent financial results, the firm reported a turnover of £132.8m, up 37% on the previous year, with pre-tax profits of £4.6m. Last year, it acquired the prominent Trinity Islands site, which has permission to build the tallest residential tower in western Europe. Global real estate group CBRE puts the average residential yield in Manchester at 5.8%, compared with 3% in London. As one industry source puts it: “The returns are higher in Manchester – that’s why all the money moved here.”

Dr Jonathan Silver, an urban academic, began investigating the building boom when he returned to Manchester after a few years away – and found a homeless camp on Oxford Road, near where the first towers were sprouting.

“It was a very powerful juxtaposition that reminded me of cities I’d been researching in Africa,” he says. “Everything had changed. Until 2013, Manchester’s development model was quite provincial: local developers using national banks, building the schemes and selling them to individual buyers. Now it’s a tool the city is using to reinsert itself into the world economy, courting investment from China to Abu Dhabi.” He says that, since the 90s, Manchester’s mantra has been: “Any investment is good investment.” But times have changed, he warns, and the council needs to wake up.

Sam Wheeler agrees. “There was this desperation to reverse the post-industrial decline and transform the city centre at any cost. And they did it. People have come. It’s worked. But we’re in a different situation now. The population isn’t declining and developers aren’t going to run a mile if we insist they contribute to some social housing.”

Richard Leese, leader of Manchester city council since 1996 and much credited with turning the city around, insists the council is tough on developers. “I’m confident we’ve been getting the best deal we could for a long time,” he says. “Our planning officers have access to robust assessment methods, but it’s still hard to make these schemes stack up financially.” He says it comes down to a choice: “We either swallow green belt, or we build densely on brownfield sites. I don’t think the towers are too tall. In 20 years, people will be saying, ‘Why did you build them so small?’”

When St Michael’s tower – the controversial project fronted by the former footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs for tycoon Peter Lim who made his fortune in palm oil – is finally looming over the Grade I-listed town hall, it’s hard to imagine many will wish the 40-storey skyscraper had been even bigger. Leese’s argument seems disingenuous: saying no to these silos does not mean tearing up green fields around the city instead. It is perfectly possible to build mixed-tenure communities at high density on brownfield sites in a manner that fits the rest of the city. It just requires a little more effort and a decent plan – not the current approach of filling each site to its limits and pushing for the maximum height until it hits the airport flight path.

“The situation is truly shameful,” says Dr Margaret Collier of the Manchester Civic Society, which crowdfunded a campaign to challenge St Michael’s tower decision. “The planning system is not fit for purpose, and authorities aren’t looking with sufficient scrutiny at what’s in front of them. We’ve got a wonderful historic core in Manchester. I don’t think it’s right that it has turned out to be impossible to protect it.”

If the barman, cleaner or nurse can’t get a home, it’s not their cityIt seems no corner of the city is safe. In the bohemian Northern Quarter, a proposal for an angular glass stump – which was rejected three times by councillors for being too tall – was recently approved, despite the latest vision being the biggest yet. Dubbed the “Shudehill Shard” and backed by Betfred billionaire Fred Done, the project will see a 17-storey glass wedge arrive in the colourful low-rise district, once again providing no affordable housing, despite being on a council-owned site.

As Wheeler asked at the time: “Does [the council] flog off some of the last, democratically controlled land in the city centre for a billionaire’s vanity project, or does it listen to local people and their representatives, and use its power to make developers act with some responsibility?” It chose the former.

There are signs, however, that Mancunians’ vocal criticisms are beginning to have an impact. The first tower to include on-site affordable housing was secured earlier this year, in the form of the 30-storey Swan House, although it will still be only 5% of the total number of flats. Meanwhile, the council has started to make viability assessments public, and has introduced a “clawback mechanism”, for when developments turn out to be more profitable than expected. The council must have the confidence to insist on truly inclusive developments, with a higher calibre of design that respects the city’s fabric, otherwise the lifeblood of Manchester, the fuel in the powerhouse’s engine, will drain away.

“If the barman, cleaner or nurse can’t get a home,” says Wheeler, “it’s not their city. The people who make the city function need to be able to live here. I don’t think that’s a particularly radical thing to ask.”


Education secretary backs review of university admissions

Gavin Williamson says system needs looking at amid growth in use of unconditional offers

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has backed a review into university admissions, including a fresh look at whether school leavers should only apply for places after receiving their A-level results.

Williamson said recent developments, such as the steep rise in unconditional offers to sixth-formers, reopened questions over the admissions system and its calendar, as part of a review being carried out by the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator for England.

“I recognise that we need to review if the current system is working as well as it can, so I am glad the OfS is looking at whether it would be in students’ interests to apply for their university place after they have their A-level results,” Williamson said.The education secretary’s remarks came as the Department for Education (DfE) published Williamson’s letter of direction to the OfS. “I would endorse the proposal to use the review to consider the pros and cons of potential models of post-qualification application (PQA),” Williamson told the OfS.

“While this has been considered before, the context in which the sector is operating has changed.”

He said the review should be an opportunity to “further improve and develop the admissions system so that it remains fair and transparent for students both now and in the future, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

Williamson and the DfE are said to be “open-minded” on PQA, as a way of tackling the growth in unconditional offers in which sixth-formers are offered places without even having sat their A-level or BTec exams.

Some headteachers blame unconditional offers for pupils “coasting” and getting lower than expected A-level grades. But many also oppose the changes that a switch to a post-qualifications system would entail, such as moving A-level exams earlier in the year for grades to be published before applications.

Increasing numbers of students are using post-qualification admissions for courses still on offer after exam results are published, known as clearing. Williamson is said to be particularly interested in the University of Cambridge’s efforts to get around the lack of exam results – it now offers a “second chance” to high-performing disadvantaged candidates who narrowly missed out on a place during initial applications.Research has found that about 1,000 high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds have their grades under-predicted each year, which can force them to wait a year to reapply.

Williamson’s letter to the OfS included a revival of the government’s teaching excellence and student outcomes framework (Tef), which ranks institutions based on data such as drop-out rates, graduate employment and student satisfaction.

Williamson called for the OfS to conduct a new Tef exercise for each subject taught at a university, to be published in 2021, as well as a new round of Tef assessments for each higher education provider to be published in 2020.

The move to extend the Tef to individual subjects was criticised by Universities UK (UUK), which lobbies on behalf of Britain’s major universities and colleges.

“The current definition of excellence is weighted heavily towards employment outcomes, which overlooks the wider benefits of receiving high quality teaching and learning and how this can be measured,” UUK said.

It called for subject-level Tef assessments “to be halted until further consideration is given to the limitations of its methodology, the resource impact and how much actual value it gives students in their decision-making”.

UUK welcomed another of Williamson’s proposals to the OfS, for a review of part-time, mature student and flexible learning provision, including a review of funding for flexible learning. One of the failings of the English education system since 2012 has been the steep drop in mature and part-time students, which has been largely overlooked by policymakers.

Williamson also told the OfS to pay greater attention to the experiences of international students on British university campuses, including their mental health, wellbeing and employability.

“It will, therefore, be critical to ensure the OfS makes public transparent data on the outcomes achieved by international students, including those studying wholly outside the UK [such as at the overseas campuses of UK universities], such as it does for domestic students,” Williamson wrote.

University isn’t for everyone: alternatives to going through clearing

Apprenticeships are on the up for students who want to develop their skills in the workplace, rather than the lecture hall

Since it’s likely you’ll walk away with £50,000 of debt, it’s worth seeing what other options are available before you agree to university and start drawing down on that student loan.

Apprenticeships remain a popular option, with 375,800 starts in the 2017/18 academic year, according to government figures. Ryehan Amir, 20, took up an accountancy apprenticeship at water treatment solutions provider ESC Global after his first year of A-levels. “The debt that students walk out of uni with was something I was uneasy about, and I felt that I would be better suited to a vocational qualification,” explains Amir, who lives in Scunthorpe and is also studying for his Association of Accounting Technicians qualification. “When I was at college I felt that, in some quarters, there was a belief that to succeed, you need to go to university. Now I know that this isn’t the case.”There are also plenty of other choices beyond the typical three-year university route. Students may decide to study for a foundation degree, which focuses on developing skills for the workplace.

Others may wish to enter the workforce and study for a part-time degree, opt for distance learning to save money and live at home, or look to a private university for more choice. “As long as your course is registered, you can get student finance for at least part of your tuition fees,” says Polly Wiggins, a careers education consultant. “You could also consider going to university abroad, but be aware you won’t be entitled to UK student finance.”

Finding a regular job can also bring about interesting opportunities. “You can use it to test out your ideas without the commitment of further study and [you] will be developing new skills and contacts in your industry,” says Wiggins. “You could then go on to do further training if you want to progress to higher-level jobs.”

Alternatively you could start your own business. “Developing your entrepreneurial skills and building a network to support your new business will teach you things you’ll never learn in school,” she adds.

Even to this day, I don’t know what I would have studied’

Alex Durrant chose an accountancy apprenticeship over uni, and now he’s co-launched a dating app

There weren’t enough reasons convincing me to go to university. After my A-levels I decided to take on an apprenticeship at the accountancy firm I’d worked at the two previous summers and start earning money. In the back of my mind the thought of university lingered. I thought that perhaps after a year, with money saved up, I could choose to go off to uni if I wanted. In the end, I got used to working and the routine. I knew I wanted to continue to learn on the job and just savoured the practicality of it. To be honest, I didn’t know what I would study at uni either. A lot my friends didn’t know what they really wanted to study and ended up choosing any subject. Alex Durrant

After a year, I decided to leave Great Yarmouth for Leeds, moving into my home friend’s university house with nine others. It was mad. I was working in audit, from 8am-8pm, and didn’t sleep for a year. That year, my friend Max and I came up with the idea of a dating app. We spotted the opportunity at uni, seeing guys sitting around the sofa each night spending time going through profiles that never materialised into a date. We realised there was a massive gap in communication and a need for a different kind of dating app. With Jigtalk, jigsaw pieces covering a person’s face are unveiled one by one during every conversation you have, until you see their face. It encourages conversation. We launched it in London in January.

The practical skills I learned through my accountancy job set me up for a dream scenario: launching my own business. It accelerated my professional life – I already had the skillset to deal with clients and the financial acumen. All that hard learning between the ages of 18 and 20 put me in great stead. It’s also meant I’m not seriously in debt. I would have owed at least £27,000, and even to this day, I don’t know what I would have studied. I don’t regret my decision one bit. 

Learn by heart: why your passions and interests should decide your degree

Your degree will give you all sorts of transferable skills, but not necessarily a clear career path – so choose a course you love

Alice Brazil-Burns studied theatre and performance at Warwick University because she was passionate about the stage. But after graduating, and working at a major film company, she decided to make a big change, and enrolled on a master’s in management at the London School of Economics.

“I want to change the system in an organisation by working within it,” she says. “I don’t have the answers yet, and where I’m going to place myself, I’m not sure. But my theatre degree has given me all sorts of important skills: empathy, self-awareness, people skills, and studying how people think.”

Like Brazil-Burns, the majority of graduates don’t necessarily go on to build a career within their degree subject. Prospect’s What do graduates do? report for 2018 uses Higher Education Statistics Agency data to give an insight into what graduates are doing six months after they leave uni.

Unsurprisingly, the more vocational and specialist degrees lead to a narrower range of jobs – 74.8% of civil engineering graduates went into engineering and building roles, for example. But graduates in sciences and humanities courses took on a wider range of roles.

Politics graduates, for example, took roles in business, finance and HR (22.8%), along with marketing, PR and sales (15.4%) and retail and catering (12.9%). Meanwhile, business, finance and HR was the third most popular choice for chemistry graduates (15.8%), after roles as science professionals (16.6%) and associate professionals and technicians (19.9%).

So choose your degree by focusing on your passion, rather than worrying about your career, advises Chris Rea, a manager at graduate careers organisation Prospects. “Most degree courses nowadays are shot through with employability, whether you’re studying land management, history or chemistry. They do not exist in isolation,” he points out.

“But degrees aren’t just about skills for the jobs market,” says Rea. “They’re about creating rounded people who lead fulfilling lives and who do productive work. A degree will equip you to be an adaptable, flexible worker who can take advantage of multiple opportunities.”

There’s still a shortage of women in tech

Shajida Akthar undertook a degree apprenticeship and gained her BSc in digital and technology solutions while at Accenture. She’s never felt any different from her male colleagues, she says. “If anything, I’ve felt empowered. I’ve never encountered any issues and I’ve made a success of my career in a male-dominated field.”

But, despite the success of Akthar and her peers in the industry, there’s still a shortage of women in the tech sector. “Girls suggest that the male domination of the sector puts them off considering this as a career choice,” says Prof Jane Turner, a pro vice-chancellor for enterprise and business engagement at Teesside University, who also cites poor careers advice and a lack of female role models as deterrents.

However, this shortage is also an opportunity for women to advance, sometimes more quickly, up the career ladder, she says. And the tech industry offers lots of interesting roles in areas such as artificial intelligence, information security, games development, network engineering and software programming.

When it comes to courses, picking something you’re interested in is key, says Sue Black, professor of computer science at Durham University. “Think about what you like doing outside of tech. What are your hobbies? If you’re not sure, go for something more generic, like computer sciences.”

Bootcamps and short training courses are also proving popular among young women who want to explore the tech world. Turner says that, although they have a role to play, they’re not a substitute for university. “A tech degree will build significant depth of knowledge, understanding and research capability that wouldn’t be achieved through an intensive boot camp, primarily focused upon developing coding or data science expertise.”

The trouble with ‘side hustles’ at university

Students’ extracurricular ventures may show enterprise – but they point to growing financial pressures

They’re known as “side hustles”, but more often than not, they’re lifelines students and young people. The side hustle is a way to make money from a hobby or skill and comes in many forms, from artwork to running a start-up. They can provide relief for those under financial stress – but they can also leave students thinly stretched.

Oxford PhD student Chelsea Haith was already spending the main portion of her day on her laptop, so she reasoned that taking up “choose-your-hours” work moderating messages for a dating app would fit well around her research. The customer service role complemented her experience giving pastoral support to postgraduate students.

“The faster you work, the more you get paid,” she says. “I would get up at five in the morning and moderate until nine, when Oxford’s libraries open. That’s when the American time zone kicked in and most people were active.” But working alongside a PhD took its toll. “People aren’t overwhelmingly nice to customer service staff. It had an impact on my academic work, I was exhausted. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing work towards your own life, but you have to earn money to eat and live.”

A recent report called “The Side Hustle Economy” by the University of Reading found that 34% of those aged 16 to 24 have a money-making sideline of some sort. But while they show enterprise, these gigs can be symptomatic of growing financial pressures. A national survey by Save the Student found that the student maintenance loan falls £267 short of the average student’s monthly living costs. Two thirds of students have a part-time job, while half of working students say their studies suffer as a result.

In reality, students’ passion projects often aren’t viable sources of income. Caitline Powell got into standup during her gap year and joined the comedy society at the University of York. A promoter saw her perform and gave her her first paid gig. “Gigging became my socialising time, as well as providing some all-important cash.” But, Powell says, it was impossible to commit enough to comedy for it to support her as a sideline to study. “It’s tough, when you do other jobs, to explain to managers why you can’t work late on certain evenings. Some have been very understanding but others will just put you on shift anyway, so you have to cancel gigs.”

Meanwhile, some students are taking more extreme measures to make ends meet. Four percent of respondents to the Save the Student survey said they pay their way with adult work (any job that involves nudity or erotica) – up from 2% in 2017. Eight percent said they made money through gambling.

Jake Butler, a money expert from Save the Student, says: “The doubling of students involved in adult and sex work over two years is very concerning. But it’s not all that unexpected, given the financial situation students are put in. Maintenance loans are means-tested, meaning that the government expects parents to plug the gap. But most parents have no idea and their children are forced to desperate measures just to continue their studies.”

Some students find themselves resorting to illegal means, like Daniel Rodgers*, who studies with the Open University. He took up selling drugs alongside a bar job when he realised his primary income didn’t cover his rent, bills and council tax. “Even though you’re doing a full-time degree, you can never count as a full-time student, so you don’t get the benefits that normal students do. There’s going to be a point where I find I’ve got two essays due, when I can’t manage shift work. So I buy two ounces of hash and shift little bits to whoever. It’s just on the side, to help pay bills or buy food.”

Eva Crossan Jory, vice president of welfare at the National Union of Students, says that marketisation in the higher education sector has made the situation worse. She suggests the answer is a National Education Service, that would “reframe” education as “a service accessible to all”.

“At the end of term, when the money runs out, it’s easy for them to turn to quick fixes such as loans or even gambling. Our research has shown that this just causes further stress and anxiety in the long run,” she says.

The trouble with ‘side hustles’ at university

Students’ extracurricular ventures may show enterprise – but they point to growing financial pressures

They’re known as “side hustles”, but more often than not, they’re lifelines students and young people. The side hustle is a way to make money from a hobby or skill and comes in many forms, from artwork to running a start-up. They can provide relief for those under financial stress – but they can also leave students thinly stretched.

Oxford PhD student Chelsea Haith was already spending the main portion of her day on her laptop, so she reasoned that taking up “choose-your-hours” work moderating messages for a dating app would fit well around her research. The customer service role complemented her experience giving pastoral support to postgraduate students.

“The faster you work, the more you get paid,” she says. “I would get up at five in the morning and moderate until nine, when Oxford’s libraries open. That’s when the American time zone kicked in and most people were active.” But working alongside a PhD took its toll. “People aren’t overwhelmingly nice to customer service staff. It had an impact on my academic work, I was exhausted. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing work towards your own life, but you have to earn money to eat and live.”

A recent report called “The Side Hustle Economy” by the University of Reading found that 34% of those aged 16 to 24 have a money-making sideline of some sort. But while they show enterprise, these gigs can be symptomatic of growing financial pressures. A national survey by Save the Student found that the student maintenance loan falls £267 short of the average student’s monthly living costs. Two thirds of students have a part-time job, while half of working students say their studies suffer as a result.

In reality, students’ passion projects often aren’t viable sources of income. Caitline Powell got into standup during her gap year and joined the comedy society at the University of York. A promoter saw her perform and gave her her first paid gig. “Gigging became my socialising time, as well as providing some all-important cash.” But, Powell says, it was impossible to commit enough to comedy for it to support her as a sideline to study. “It’s tough, when you do other jobs, to explain to managers why you can’t work late on certain evenings. Some have been very understanding but others will just put you on shift anyway, so you have to cancel gigs.”

Meanwhile, some students are taking more extreme measures to make ends meet. Four percent of respondents to the Save the Student survey said they pay their way with adult work (any job that involves nudity or erotica) – up from 2% in 2017. Eight percent said they made money through gambling.

Jake Butler, a money expert from Save the Student, says: “The doubling of students involved in adult and sex work over two years is very concerning. But it’s not all that unexpected, given the financial situation students are put in. Maintenance loans are means-tested, meaning that the government expects parents to plug the gap. But most parents have no idea and their children are forced to desperate measures just to continue their studies.”

Some students find themselves resorting to illegal means, like Daniel Rodgers*, who studies with the Open University. He took up selling drugs alongside a bar job when he realised his primary income didn’t cover his rent, bills and council tax. “Even though you’re doing a full-time degree, you can never count as a full-time student, so you don’t get the benefits that normal students do. There’s going to be a point where I find I’ve got two essays due, when I can’t manage shift work. So I buy two ounces of hash and shift little bits to whoever. It’s just on the side, to help pay bills or buy food.”

Eva Crossan Jory, vice president of welfare at the National Union of Students, says that marketisation in the higher education sector has made the situation worse. She suggests the answer is a National Education Service, that would “reframe” education as “a service accessible to all”.

“At the end of term, when the money runs out, it’s easy for them to turn to quick fixes such as loans or even gambling. Our research has shown that this just causes further stress and anxiety in the long run,” she says.

Other students have called for cuts to university accommodation costs, which soak up the majority of students’ maintenance loans. Clementine Boucher, a student activist at Rent Strike, said: “Students have accumulated so much debt and their quality of life has deteriorated so much it was impossible not to notice They are really angry, frustrated and depressed by the situation.”

The trouble with ‘side hustles’ at university

Students’ extracurricular ventures may show enterprise – but they point to growing financial pressures

They’re known as “side hustles”, but more often than not, they’re lifelines students and young people. The side hustle is a way to make money from a hobby or skill and comes in many forms, from artwork to running a start-up. They can provide relief for those under financial stress – but they can also leave students thinly stretched.

Oxford PhD student Chelsea Haith was already spending the main portion of her day on her laptop, so she reasoned that taking up “choose-your-hours” work moderating messages for a dating app would fit well around her research. The customer service role complemented her experience giving pastoral support to postgraduate students.

“The faster you work, the more you get paid,” she says. “I would get up at five in the morning and moderate until nine, when Oxford’s libraries open. That’s when the American time zone kicked in and most people were active.” But working alongside a PhD took its toll. “People aren’t overwhelmingly nice to customer service staff. It had an impact on my academic work, I was exhausted. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing work towards your own life, but you have to earn money to eat and live.”

A recent report called “The Side Hustle Economy” by the University of Reading found that 34% of those aged 16 to 24 have a money-making sideline of some sort. But while they show enterprise, these gigs can be symptomatic of growing financial pressures. A national survey by Save the Student found that the student maintenance loan falls £267 short of the average student’s monthly living costs. Two thirds of students have a part-time job, while half of working students say their studies suffer as a result.

In reality, students’ passion projects often aren’t viable sources of income. Caitline Powell got into standup during her gap year and joined the comedy society at the University of York. A promoter saw her perform and gave her her first paid gig. “Gigging became my socialising time, as well as providing some all-important cash.” But, Powell says, it was impossible to commit enough to comedy for it to support her as a sideline to study. “It’s tough, when you do other jobs, to explain to managers why you can’t work late on certain evenings. Some have been very understanding but others will just put you on shift anyway, so you have to cancel gigs.”

Meanwhile, some students are taking more extreme measures to make ends meet. Four percent of respondents to the Save the Student survey said they pay their way with adult work (any job that involves nudity or erotica) – up from 2% in 2017. Eight percent said they made money through gambling.

Jake Butler, a money expert from Save the Student, says: “The doubling of students involved in adult and sex work over two years is very concerning. But it’s not all that unexpected, given the financial situation students are put in. Maintenance loans are means-tested, meaning that the government expects parents to plug the gap. But most parents have no idea and their children are forced to desperate measures just to continue their studies.”

Some students find themselves resorting to illegal means, like Daniel Rodgers*, who studies with the Open University. He took up selling drugs alongside a bar job when he realised his primary income didn’t cover his rent, bills and council tax. “Even though you’re doing a full-time degree, you can never count as a full-time student, so you don’t get the benefits that normal students do. There’s going to be a point where I find I’ve got two essays due, when I can’t manage shift work. So I buy two ounces of hash and shift little bits to whoever. It’s just on the side, to help pay bills or buy food.”

Eva Crossan Jory, vice president of welfare at the National Union of Students, says that marketisation in the higher education sector has made the situation worse. She suggests the answer is a National Education Service, that would “reframe” education as “a service accessible to all”.

“At the end of term, when the money runs out, it’s easy for them to turn to quick fixes such as loans or even gambling. Our research has shown that this just causes further stress and anxiety in the long run,” she says.

Other students have called for cuts to university accommodation costs, which soak up the majority of students’ maintenance loans. Clementine Boucher, a student activist at Rent Strike, said: “Students have accumulated so much debt and their quality of life has deteriorated so much it was impossible not to notice They are really angry, frustrated and depressed by the situation.”

The trouble with ‘side hustles’ at university

Students’ extracurricular ventures may show enterprise – but they point to growing financial pressures

They’re known as “side hustles”, but more often than not, they’re lifelines students and young people. The side hustle is a way to make money from a hobby or skill and comes in many forms, from artwork to running a start-up. They can provide relief for those under financial stress – but they can also leave students thinly stretched.

Oxford PhD student Chelsea Haith was already spending the main portion of her day on her laptop, so she reasoned that taking up “choose-your-hours” work moderating messages for a dating app would fit well around her research. The customer service role complemented her experience giving pastoral support to postgraduate students.

“The faster you work, the more you get paid,” she says. “I would get up at five in the morning and moderate until nine, when Oxford’s libraries open. That’s when the American time zone kicked in and most people were active.” But working alongside a PhD took its toll. “People aren’t overwhelmingly nice to customer service staff. It had an impact on my academic work, I was exhausted. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing work towards your own life, but you have to earn money to eat and live.”

A recent report called “The Side Hustle Economy” by the University of Reading found that 34% of those aged 16 to 24 have a money-making sideline of some sort. But while they show enterprise, these gigs can be symptomatic of growing financial pressures. A national survey by Save the Student found that the student maintenance loan falls £267 short of the average student’s monthly living costs. Two thirds of students have a part-time job, while half of working students say their studies suffer as a result.

In reality, students’ passion projects often aren’t viable sources of income. Caitline Powell got into standup during her gap year and joined the comedy society at the University of York. A promoter saw her perform and gave her her first paid gig. “Gigging became my socialising time, as well as providing some all-important cash.” But, Powell says, it was impossible to commit enough to comedy for it to support her as a sideline to study. “It’s tough, when you do other jobs, to explain to managers why you can’t work late on certain evenings. Some have been very understanding but others will just put you on shift anyway, so you have to cancel gigs.”

Meanwhile, some students are taking more extreme measures to make ends meet. Four percent of respondents to the Save the Student survey said they pay their way with adult work (any job that involves nudity or erotica) – up from 2% in 2017. Eight percent said they made money through gambling.

Jake Butler, a money expert from Save the Student, says: “The doubling of students involved in adult and sex work over two years is very concerning. But it’s not all that unexpected, given the financial situation students are put in. Maintenance loans are means-tested, meaning that the government expects parents to plug the gap. But most parents have no idea and their children are forced to desperate measures just to continue their studies.”

Some students find themselves resorting to illegal means, like Daniel Rodgers*, who studies with the Open University. He took up selling drugs alongside a bar job when he realised his primary income didn’t cover his rent, bills and council tax. “Even though you’re doing a full-time degree, you can never count as a full-time student, so you don’t get the benefits that normal students do. There’s going to be a point where I find I’ve got two essays due, when I can’t manage shift work. So I buy two ounces of hash and shift little bits to whoever. It’s just on the side, to help pay bills or buy food.”

Eva Crossan Jory, vice president of welfare at the National Union of Students, says that marketisation in the higher education sector has made the situation worse. She suggests the answer is a National Education Service, that would “reframe” education as “a service accessible to all”.

“At the end of term, when the money runs out, it’s easy for them to turn to quick fixes such as loans or even gambling. Our research has shown that this just causes further stress and anxiety in the long run,” she says.

Other students have called for cuts to university accommodation costs, which soak up the majority of students’ maintenance loans. Clementine Boucher, a student activist at Rent Strike, said: “Students have accumulated so much debt and their quality of life has deteriorated so much it was impossible not to notice They are really angry, frustrated and depressed by the situation.”

The trouble with ‘side hustles’ at university

Students’ extracurricular ventures may show enterprise – but they point to growing financial pressures

They’re known as “side hustles”, but more often than not, they’re lifelines students and young people. The side hustle is a way to make money from a hobby or skill and comes in many forms, from artwork to running a start-up. They can provide relief for those under financial stress – but they can also leave students thinly stretched.

Oxford PhD student Chelsea Haith was already spending the main portion of her day on her laptop, so she reasoned that taking up “choose-your-hours” work moderating messages for a dating app would fit well around her research. The customer service role complemented her experience giving pastoral support to postgraduate students.

“The faster you work, the more you get paid,” she says. “I would get up at five in the morning and moderate until nine, when Oxford’s libraries open. That’s when the American time zone kicked in and most people were active.” But working alongside a PhD took its toll. “People aren’t overwhelmingly nice to customer service staff. It had an impact on my academic work, I was exhausted. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing work towards your own life, but you have to earn money to eat and live.”

A recent report called “The Side Hustle Economy” by the University of Reading found that 34% of those aged 16 to 24 have a money-making sideline of some sort. But while they show enterprise, these gigs can be symptomatic of growing financial pressures. A national survey by Save the Student found that the student maintenance loan falls £267 short of the average student’s monthly living costs. Two thirds of students have a part-time job, while half of working students say their studies suffer as a result.

In reality, students’ passion projects often aren’t viable sources of income. Caitline Powell got into standup during her gap year and joined the comedy society at the University of York. A promoter saw her perform and gave her her first paid gig. “Gigging became my socialising time, as well as providing some all-important cash.” But, Powell says, it was impossible to commit enough to comedy for it to support her as a sideline to study. “It’s tough, when you do other jobs, to explain to managers why you can’t work late on certain evenings. Some have been very understanding but others will just put you on shift anyway, so you have to cancel gigs.”

Meanwhile, some students are taking more extreme measures to make ends meet. Four percent of respondents to the Save the Student survey said they pay their way with adult work (any job that involves nudity or erotica) – up from 2% in 2017. Eight percent said they made money through gambling.

Jake Butler, a money expert from Save the Student, says: “The doubling of students involved in adult and sex work over two years is very concerning. But it’s not all that unexpected, given the financial situation students are put in. Maintenance loans are means-tested, meaning that the government expects parents to plug the gap. But most parents have no idea and their children are forced to desperate measures just to continue their studies.”

Some students find themselves resorting to illegal means, like Daniel Rodgers*, who studies with the Open University. He took up selling drugs alongside a bar job when he realised his primary income didn’t cover his rent, bills and council tax. “Even though you’re doing a full-time degree, you can never count as a full-time student, so you don’t get the benefits that normal students do. There’s going to be a point where I find I’ve got two essays due, when I can’t manage shift work. So I buy two ounces of hash and shift little bits to whoever. It’s just on the side, to help pay bills or buy food.”

Eva Crossan Jory, vice president of welfare at the National Union of Students, says that marketisation in the higher education sector has made the situation worse. She suggests the answer is a National Education Service, that would “reframe” education as “a service accessible to all”.

“At the end of term, when the money runs out, it’s easy for them to turn to quick fixes such as loans or even gambling. Our research has shown that this just causes further stress and anxiety in the long run,” she says.

Other students have called for cuts to university accommodation costs, which soak up the majority of students’ maintenance loans. Clementine Boucher, a student activist at Rent Strike, said: “Students have accumulated so much debt and their quality of life has deteriorated so much it was impossible not to notice They are really angry, frustrated and depressed by the situation.”

Other students have called for cuts to university accommodation costs, which soak up the majority of students’ maintenance loans. Clementine Boucher, a student activist at Rent Strike, said: “Students have accumulated so much debt and their quality of life has deteriorated so much it was impossible not to notice They are really angry, frustrated and depressed by the situation.”