Shop, Co-op, Bar and Reception Staff

Closed 12/09/2019



Working for us is not like working for any other organisation! Our staff say that the best thing about working here is their fantastic colleagues and the Union’s flexible working. Our commercial services are shaped by students, with students elected as Full-time Officers to sit on the Company Board, with student staff representatives in each outlet, and managers with an open door policy.

When applying you can choose to only apply for work just in our shops, reception, our bars, or select no preference.

We particularly welcome applications from mature students, postgraduate students and international students, people with an ethnic minority background, people who have a Chinese background, people with a disability, people with dependants, and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Staff at The Students' Union will also have the opportunity to join our BAME Staff Network.

We also anonymise applications before shortlisting and give staff conducting interviews Unconscious Bias Training. You don’t need shop, bar, or reception experience to work here, though this will be factored into the selection process


You will be able to apply HERE for one week from 10am, Thursday 5th September

Each year we look for motivated and friendly Sussex and BSMS students to work as Customer Service Assistants in our bars, shops or reception: Falmer Bar, Northfield Bar and Café; Room 76, The Clubhouse, Union Shop, Co-operative Store, and our Reception. 

We shortlist applicants on the basis of one question: "Why do you think you would be good at this job?" (characters limited to 1000, including spaces). We will also ask you some scenario based questions to give you an idea of what working here can be like, and we ask for some basic information about you.

We prioritise Freshers, or students starting a new course to give each student at least one good chance to be chosen to work with us.  We therefore have two events which are open to all students, with the remaining six for new students only. All applicants who tick that they are starting a new course in 2019 will be asked to show their student card with a 2019 date.

We are aiming to recruit around 70 students to start in October, however we will keep the details of all suitable candidates to help us fill further vacancies which arise during the rest of the academic year.

Please have your calendar and timetable handy at the time of application so you can let us know your availability for our induction events (if you can attend all of them then you will not be limited by the spaces in the same way as if you were only available for one).


We currently pay our assistants and receptionists £8.62 per hour (made up of £7.70 basic wage + 92p holiday pay).  Pay is calculated this way because our students often have other work in vacation time. They tell us that they prefer an enhanced hourly amount rather than separate holiday pay.  The rate of pay will be higher if you are over 25 in order to meet the increase in national minimum wage for staff over 25.


Working hours are over a 7 day period and will include early mornings, evenings, and weekends.  We form rotas around fixed academic commitments which at Sussex often vary from week to week! Staff let us know their academic commitments for a 3-4 week period, and we make up a rota based on this information. As we build shifts around fixed academic commitments, our student staff need to offer as much availability around studies as possible to support this working relationship


We offer fixed hour, term time only contracts, which include; teaching periods, assessment periods, Arrival Weekend, Freshers’ period, inter-sessional/inter-semester weeks and private study periods. Assistants and Receptionists commit to working 9-12 hours per week. These fixed hours are not a limit and there may be scope for taking on extra hours for some weeks. There will also be the option to work fewer hours in any given week if agreed in advance with the line manager


Our staff are the face of the Union, and as such they need to work effectively and considerately within their team to create a friendly and professional experience for students using our services. You would be great at one of these roles if you have the following abilities and approach to your role:



Ability to be a pro-active self-starter, effectively getting on with work


Ability to communicate effectively with key people relevant to the role


Ability to manage workload, delivering high quality work on time

Great Service:

Delivers an excellent service to all internal and external customers



Shows a positive and adaptable attitude towards the Union and the work itself


Shows mutual support for the manager and team to benefit students

High Standards:

Shows high expectations of themselves and their work, trying to do the right thing


Being consistently on time, carefully following agreed procedures and practices

For those who would like to work on Reception, you’ll also need experience of using Microsoft Office or similar software. It would also be great if you have a good understanding of the services and support available through the Students’ Union and the University of Sussex, but this is not essential.

You can read the full Job Description for jobs in our shops and bars here

You can read the full Job Description for jobs in our reception team here


  • 10am Thursday 5th September: Applications open
  • 10am Thursday 12th September: Applications close
  • 5.30pm Monday 16th September: Invitations to shortlisted students sent out
  • 11pm Wednesday 18th September: Deadline for booking interview/selection event slot. IF YOU HAVEN’T CHOSEN A SLOT BY THIS TIME, YOUR INVITATION WILL BE WITHDRAWN.
  • Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th 8 x Selection Events where there will be groups tasks and a brief interview: 
    • 9.15am-10.45am (open to any student)
    • 11am-12.30pm, 1pm-2.30pm, 2.45pm-4.15pm (open to new students only)
  • 3pm Friday 27th September: Applicants informed whether or not they have been successful.
  • Checks and Inductions
    • 3pm Tuesday 1st October: Bars Right to work checks, followed by bars inductions 3:45pm-6:15pm
    • 10am Wednesday 2nd October: Reception Right to work checks, followed by Reception Induction 10.30am-12.30pm
    • 2pm Wednesday 2nd October: Union Shop Right to work checks, followed by Union Shop Induction 2:30pm-4:30pm
    • 3pm Wednesday 2nd October: Bars Right to work checks, followed by bars inductions 3:45pm-6:15pm
    • 9.30am Saturday 5th October: Co-op Right to work checks, followed by Co-op Induction 10.30am-12.30pm (Induction)


All our Duty Managers have been promoted from a Customer Assistant role, and these starting positions therefore offer great developmental opportunities for someone who can demonstrate further skills.  We also recruit for other positions each year, with many outlet staff going on to successfully apply for one of our graduate positions or permanent positions.  

Do sign up for our vacancy notification service to hear about vacancies as and when they arise.


csa pic 1.jpg


As a person who didn’t use English as a mother language, I’m very proud to use my few time to work here as a CAS. In this big family that full of people with different national backgrounds, the treasure I received from here is not only the capability of English speaking, but it also the importance of the spirit of teamwork. In here we help each other like a family for a same common goal: serving the customers. However, the party never last, I will go back to my own country after I finished my study here. But, the pleasure of time is permanently inked into my heart, which is a memory that unforgettable. This incredible journey of working here is a treasure for me in Sussex that will be last. - ZhengHong Yu (Jackson), Co-Op Assistant

unnamed (3).jpg

I applied this job in August, before the school starts. Working on campus and getting to know people is the best way to earn some money and make friends. The first step is online application by filling in some personal information and answer questions like the reason to apply the job. Just express your true feeling and objectives. It’s not a matter of how beautiful your writing is, but how enthusiastic and capable of you for the job. Followed by interviews, which are really fun. I still remember during the fun quick-response- question session, I was the last one to answer, but that did not influence my result.

My colleagues and bosses are super nice. The training will tell you all you need to know of the shop. It’s not just a part-time job, but a place to meet new friends. The variable nationality makes me more excited. After working here for a year, I feel like we are family. I would encourage people to join our family and enjoy the job.

Zichun Tang, PostGraduate in Strategy & Marketing, Union Shop Assistant

在还没有开学的时候,8 月份就在学校网站上搜到了这份工作。能在校 内工作还有一份不错的薪水是赚零花钱最好的方式了。首先要在线填表,一些个 人信息和申请的原因,只要真实的表达自己的诉求就好了。我很希望在兼职中遇 到不同而有趣的小伙伴,在课业之余还能认识新的朋友。面试也是很有趣的。在 抢答环节我总是最后一个才回答,但是并没有影响结果,因为对这份工作的真诚 和热情才是重要的。

商店的同事老板都很亲切,对我也格外宽和。虽然是份兼职,但定期的培训会提 高你的技能。从收银到理货,从对顾客的处理方式到店面的规整。还有员工的周 末社交活动,更是让我真正了解了我的同事们。不同国籍不同肤色的伙伴互相交 流着格外欢乐。

freya (1).jpg

When I moved to Brighton to do my masters at Sussex, I needed a flexible job to earn money alongside my studies and the Co-Op was perfect for this. Not only did I make loads of friends in a new country but I also had the opportunity to develop my customer service and management skills as I progressed to Duty Manager. The Students’ Union has a strong commitment to developing it’s student staff and there were so many training opportunities throughout my time in the Co-Op that helped me to apply to work in HR. The SU is an incredibly supportive place to work and full of caring, friendly, and extraordinary people! - Freya, MA Gender and Media Graduate, Co-Op Asisstant, then Duty Manager, then Bakery Duty Manager, then HR Administrator, and then HR Assistant.


We really welcome applications from international students for all of our student vacancies.

Due to legal regulations we have to ensure that everyone is eligible to work in the UK and this would be done by checking your visa, and/or by us taking a copy of an original passport (and/or other appropriate identification), on or before your first day of work. You may also be limited in the number of hours you would be allowed to work.

Find out more information about applying to work in the UK

In any case, we would encourage all international students to apply for a job in one of our friendly outlets to give yourself the chance of being selected, and we would look to see the appropriate identification on or before your first day of work.





To get paid you’d need to provide us with proof of your national insurance number as soon as possible after accepting a job offer. To make this process quicker we ask that those without a national insurance number apply for one now/as early as possible as these can take some time to arrive. International students will be able to apply as soon as they arrive in the UK. You can find out more about applying for national insurance number, or recovering a lost national insurance number here

Working here is great for all students, but don’t just take our word for it…

csa pic 2.png

After a long day of studying on a really intensive course, it feels nice to be doing something where you’re on your feet, rather than returning to the work which I had done before in a law firm. Having said that, as a Duty Manager I am additionally trusted with tasks such as opening up the shop and doing banking, as well as managing staff!  Working at the shop has also really helped me build up commercial awareness which was something we are asked to do on my academic course. It’s a really friendly place to work, not bossing people about but working as a team, and I have never done anything like that before; it will really add to my CV. - Ashley, Postgraduate, Union Shop Assistant, then Duty Manager, then HR Administrator

pasted image 0.png

The thing I’ve always enjoyed about working for the Union is that everyone is really friendly and working together to support lots of students from a variety of backgrounds at different points in their lives.  As a staff member I had the opportunity to recruit future colleagues and I don’t think many places would let you do that! Having the opportunity to specialise within this environment was great - I became responsible for setting up equipment for live music events, and by doing so I developed technical skills which were relevant and really useful to my music degree - Ed, BA Music Graduate, Bar Assistant, then Digital Engagement Coordinator (Graduate Scheme)


To find out more about working for the Students' Union go to: