Student Elections

Being a Sabbatical Officer: the perfect student job?

If you're graduating or planning to take a gap year, this job opportunity is one not to be missed.

A salary of £19,000, flexible working, 28 days annual leave, trips across the country, opportunities to travel abroad and the chance to have your voice heard in the world of Higher Education. Plus 365 days of immersing yourself in the incredible student life that the city has to offer. 

This is what Catherine Redding (Cat) enjoyed for two years after being elected by students of the University of Portsmouth to be Vice President of Sports in 2012-13 and President in 2013-14. When her year as President came to an end, Cat had dedicated two years to making positive changes to student life at the University of Portsmouth, built long-lasting relationships with staff across the University and had built enough experience to land a job as a Student Voice Coordinator at Christ Church Students' Union.

The initial move into a sabbatical role came as a last minute decision for the English Literature graduate. She said: "I put my first nomination in at the last minute, not really knowing if I had a chance of winning the election. If you're thinking about nominating yourself I would say go for it, you will not regret putting in your nomination. I loved my time at Portsmouth, I can’t recommend it enough!"

Cat said: "I learnt about prioritisation and how to balance your commitments. You also learn to communicate on a variety of levels, from speaking to students, to addressing a room of people in a speech and presenting yourself to governors. You don't notice that you’re developing these skills until you look back and realise everything you've done."

Each year Cat and four other full-time Sabbatical Officers were responsible for representing over 25,000 students. When starting the job she was most excited to work with academics, managements and governors at the University. She said: "They had expertise from every industry you could imagine but you’re the expert in being a student, your voice really counts at the University of Portsmouth."

*Nominations deadline Thursday the 8th of February 2018

For many students, a Sabbatical Officer role could be the perfect post-uni (or mid-uni) role. The Union's Student Voice team spend time and money ensuring quality training is provided to each new set of Sabbatical Officers. Cat said: "I really loved working at UPSU, every single day. It is a really vibrant place to work, where there is innovation all the time. The staff there are really committed to making positive change for students and they really do support you in everything you do."

"Every day is different. From going for coffee to see a student, to meeting people from the council and going to governors meetings, to having snowball fights at the Union and giving out hot chocolate! You do meet a huge variety of people. A highlight for me was I went to Germany for a conference and I met people from all over the world and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without being a Sabbatical Officer."

Cat Redding will be speaking at the Women in Leadership conference on Wednesday the 31st of January and is available for questions after the event. 

*Nominations deadline is Thursday the 8th of February 2018. 


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