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Working while studying

Part time work while studying could help you get ahead financially.

Get a head start!

Casual or part-time work is a great way to earn some money while studying. It’s also a way to gain work experience that looks great on your curriculum vitae (CV). Employers will often admire a CV that demonstrates a student can balance study and work commitments. A student who can work while studying is usually one with good time-management skills and a willingness to work.

Having work experience can improve your chances of finding graduate employment, and can build the soft skills that employers seek, like teamwork, time-management skills, communication skills and problem-solving. You might also choose to volunteer or do an internship, both great ways of getting some experience in the workplace and boosting your career opportunities.

It’s important to consider how much time you are able to put into work before making any commitments. Work should not interfere with your studies. If you are an international student, you must also be aware of the working hour limits attached to your student visa. Know when your deadlines are and when you might need to cut back your shifts.

Hand writing on red notebook on a desk

Benefits of working while studying

  • Demonstrates your ability to balance your commitments and willingness to work hard
  • Looked at favourably by employers
  • Soft skills development
  • Supplemental income


Volunteering can be a rewarding experience for students who enjoy making a difference in the community. Volunteering is unpaid work, usually for a not-for-profit organisation. You can gain many of the skills associated with paid with, in addition to demonstrating exceptional motivation and good-will.

For international students, volunteering or working while studying is a good opportunity to practise your English, and to learn about Australian workplace culture. Keep in mind that you will need to limit the hours that you work to meet your student visa conditions.

Balancing work and study

As a guide, you should avoid working more than 15 hours per week during a trimester if you’re a full-time student. The last thing that you want is to fall behind on your course because you don’t have enough study time – or you’re simply too tired to concentrate.

Restrictions on work or hours

If you’re an international student, check your visa conditions with the Department of Home Affairs to see how many hours you can work during trimester and trimester breaks.

If you’re receiving benefits such as Austudy or Abstudy, your earnings could affect these payments.

Check the rules for your particular payment with Centrelink.

The difference between ‘casual’ and ‘part-time’ work

Part-time employees work regular hours each week and receive the same benefits (relative to hours worked) as full-time employees. This includes annual leave and sick leave.

Casual employees are less likely to have regular work and do not receive guaranteed hours, sick or annual leave. Rates of pay are usually higher to make up for this. The terms on-call and temporary staff often refer to casual work. If you have queries about the type of work you’ve been offered, you can contact Job Watch (communications are confidential).

Student visa work rights

As an international student, there are certain restrictions and conditions on the type and amount of work that you can do.

  • If you have a student visa, you can work up to to 40 hours per fortnight (two-week period) during university trimesters, and full-time hours during vacations.
  • If you are studying on a scholarship, you should contact your scholarship provider about how many hours you are permitted to work each week.

For information on visa requirements, contact the Department Home Affairs on 13 18 81 or visit

You also have Government protected rights to ensure that you are not exploited or mistreated at work. All people working in Australia have basic rights and protections in the workplace, including minimum pay and conditions. The Fair Work Ombudsman makes sure that these rights are protected and enforced fairly under Australia’s workplace laws.

Casual employees work on an hourly or daily basis and are less likely to have regular or guaranteed hours of work. Casual employees do not get paid sick leave or annual leave, but the rates of pay are usually higher to make up for this.  A casual employee is usually not entitled to notice of termination. This means a casual employee can be terminated at any time.

Get a tax file number

Before you begin working in Australia, you will need to apply for a tax file number (TFN). This is a unique identifier that allows the Government to assess your total income over the year, regardless of how many jobs you have held. You need to give this TFN to your employer to avoid paying the highest tax rate.

Lodging a tax return

You will need to complete a yearly tax return as you may be eligible for a partial refund. Tax returns must be lodged by 31 October for the previous financial year, which runs from 1 July to 30 June.

Finding work

You may choose to work part-time while you study at Griffith College. Working while studying gives you an excellent opportunity to put the theories and concepts that you are learning within your program into practice in the real world. It can also help to supplement your cost of living. Your study commitments should always take priority over work commitments. There are many options available to you when searching for employment within Brisbane and the Gold Coast.


Griffith University offers employment search services as well as access to unitemps job search facility. Unitemps Griffith is a recruitment service, providing paid work opportunities for students, graduates and alumni. Unitemps offers a variety of roles, from one-off assignments to ongoing graduate positions both on and off-campus.

To be considered for these opportunities, you must register with Unitemps Griffith. Once you’ve registered with Unitemps, you can apply for roles through the Unitemps website. Unitemps staff also actively search our database to find the right candidates to fill roles. This means you might get a call about an opportunity you weren’t even aware of. Unitemps also market outstanding candidates directly to employers.


Gold Coast Student Jobs

Are you a Gold Coast student or recent graduate looking for an exciting opportunity?

Perhaps you’re looking to ‘earn while you learn’ or launch your career?

Search and apply for work experience to gain skills in your chosen field.

If you’re looking to enhance your employability skills Gold Coast Student Jobs has you covered with 100’s of opportunities across a range of industries.

Gold Coast Student Jobs

Know your rights

Whether you’re a local or international student, there are laws outlining what conditions and pay you are entitled to. For more information, visit the Australian Government’s Fair Work website.

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