Year Here has no tuition fee – unlike a Masters or other postgraduate courses – but it is a full-time commitment for 10 months, which is undeniably tough without a salary.
But our Fellows, who join from different backgrounds and stages in their career, find a way to make it work for them. Each case is individual, but in general, it’s a mix of skilled freelancing, side hustles, odd jobs, financial support and plenty of planning.
We’ve asked a few of our Fellows to discuss what worked for them…
Most Fellows work alongside taking part in Year Here, and we recommend finding work that is flexible around the programme.
With a background in data analytics and three languages under her belt, 2017/18 Fellow Verena Wimmer undertook a range of freelance work to support herself.
‘My main skills are around technical data work, which I sourced through my professional network, and languages, which helped me find teaching and translation work in French, English, and German. You can fit in quite a lot of hours around the course, especially doing remote working.’
Her advice for finding freelance work:
‘Use your network by keeping in touch with old employers and advertising your skillset on social media. Know your value – work out what your day rate / hourly rate is. And research and discuss with other freelancers in your sector to work out the norms in your respective industry.’
2017/18 Fellow Aoise Keogan-Nooshabadi moved to London to become a Fellow and juggled several side hustles alongside the programme.
‘I took on a range of different jobs – from personal assistance work to working in events. A lot of the gigs I found initially through an app called TaskRabbit, where I could normally find work for the days and times I was available. Later on the programme, I became a concierge with Hostmaker, and now that I’m working on building my own venture, I still work with Hostmaker as a way to support myself while we’re launching. The nature of any work I did during the year was flexible, meaning it suited my needs and availability – and I really recommend that as no two weeks on Year Here are the same!’
As a postgraduate course, Year Here Fellows are eligible for Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL). You can usually get between £300 and £10,000, available at a reduced interest rate.
2018 Fellow Dan Robinson talked us through the application process:
‘From start to finish, it only took 4 weeks – which was mostly finding relevant documents. As I was moving to London before finding somewhere to live, I was unsure about how to complete the loan’s application form without knowing my income or expenses. But, I spoke to someone from the bank about the PCDL, who advised me about using estimates and previous incomes. This was incredibly helpful, so I’d recommend speaking to someone over the phone as soon as possible.’
Dan’s top tip for the PCDL? Get started on the application early. ‘It was hard to fit all of this in as well as doing all of the practical stuff involved with moving down to London, so getting some of these things out of the way earlier would have been a good move!’
An alternative approach to traditional student loans is through our partners EdAid, a crowdfunding platform offering interest-free loans. This works by raising money from family and friends before paying it back as 10% of your income once you’ve started earning. Year Here will match fund the first £1,000 that you raise on the platform.
2017 Fellow George Metcalfe applied for both the PCDL and EdAid. He said that ‘the processes for applying for both were incredibly simple and straightforward.’
‘I got my PCDL within a week. I launched my EdAid page in the same week and set to work on making it attractive to potential funders. I made several blog-style updates, posted a video to go alongside it, and posted the page regularly on Facebook and Twitter. With a bit of hustle, I had all the money I needed for the ten months in London while only needing to pay about £2,500 in interest in the five years after the programme.’
We’ve partnered with Dot Dot Dot Property Guardians, a social enterprise that places property guardians in buildings that would otherwise be empty at a heavily subsidised rent. You can read more about being a property guardian with Dot Dot Dot here.
During her time on the programme, Aoise lived in a Dot Dot Dot property in East London – close to the Year Here studio in London Fields.
‘I can’t recommend this experience enough. Dot Dot Dot is great, with a friendly team who are understanding and responsive to anything you need. I lived in a flat with one of the other Fellows from our cohort, our place was great, close to transport links and safe.’
Your daily travel costs will be covered during the frontline placement and consulting project phase – plus you’ll benefit from 30% off public transport costs in your own time too, thanks to our partnership with Transport for London. We’ll also cover the cost of your lunches during frontline placement.
We offer a small number of bursaries of up to £5,000 each year. These are funded by donations from our advisors, faculty members and wider network. To be awarded a bursary you’ll need to submit evidence of any means-tested financial assistance you have received in the past.
Our Head of Recruitment, Damien, explains: “we’re always looking to ensure the programme is as open and accessible as we can make it – especially through the financial support we provide. Bursaries are a key way to do this. They’re funded by donations from our wider network of supporters and we allocate them on a means-tested basis when Fellows apply to ensure they go to those who are most in need.”
If you’re interested in applying for financial support, let us know in your application form. If you are successful in being invited to interview, you’ll be asked to complete a financial assessment by the time you attend your selection workshop.
How you can make it work financially is always a consideration when applying and the circumstances are different for everybody. We know that this list isn’t totally exhaustive, so if you’ve got any questions about finance and your situation, get in contact with our Head of Recruitment.
The PCDL is repaid over a maximum of five years and has an interest rate of 9.9%. The Professional and Career Development Loan scheme is closing. You must apply by 25 January 2019. Find out more at gov.uk/career-development-loans.
EdAid’s loan is interest-free in real terms; it rises with inflation only. Find out more at edaid.com/costcomparison.