Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Ask an Expert: Degree Sponsorship

Ask an Expert: Degree SponsorshipDave Thorn received sponsorship for his degree from Parsons Brinkcherhoff. Find out what it involved and how he benefitted.

How did you get sponsorship?

I did two weeks of work experience when I was in year 10, made a pretty good impression and was encouraged to apply - and accepted - to work for them on a gap year before university. During the gap year I asked about sponsorship, applied and was made an offer. I am still at the same company two years after graduating, although it has changed a bit!

What did the sponsorship involve?

My employer provided me with a laptop and paid me £3,000 each year for all four years. The terms were that I had to work for them for six weeks during each summer break. In practice I got in touch around Christmas and usually went to their Christmas party. I think it was mainly a 'keeping in touch' exercise rather than actually getting very useful work out of me, although I did of course work hard. I think they also required a 2:1 every year - so I had to do a bit of sweet talking there. My boss was understanding, and it helped that he already knew me well.

Were there any downsides?

The psychological burden of having to get good grades - and I struggled!

The 'burden' of having to work for 6 weeks every summer - I managed to fit holidays around it and was quite glad of it!

Using a laptop that belongs to a company rather than yourself (IT people are tetchy if you install software without them knowing, etc).

I think when they wrote my sponsorship contract they managed to leave out the paragraph locking me in to the company. It just didn't appear! I have heard that it is usual for them to require you to stay with the company for a certain period of time, or otherwise pay some of the money back to them.