For PhD students funding situations can vary a lot (from fully funded with stipend (income), to complete unfunded), and so the amount of other paid work you need to take on is dependent on your funding situation. I can only offer information from the point of view of a funded student as that’s what I am (as are most home/EU STEM students) but I thought I’d give you a taste of some of the paid opportunities available at Leicester:
I’ve spoken about demonstrating for undergraduates before. It’s a time consuming but a fairly well paid way to gain teaching and marking experience. Each undergraduate unit is different and will have its own specific requirements, but from my experience you’re allocated a session (for me a lab one) where you’ll be there to support and supervise about 20 students, on top of this you’ll be paid for x number of hours marking. Over the course of a unit you’ll be expected to mark more than one thing and be given deadlines to make sure there’s time to moderate everything and get the marks back to the students in a reasonable time. Overall I really enjoy demonstrating but wouldn’t really advise anyone to take on more than a single unit at a time as the marking load can take up quite a lot of your time.
You can also get involved with outreach work, this is generally fairly specific to individual departments, but I’ve had loads of opportunities to get involved, and normally PhD students are paid. There are a few different things I’ve done, the first are open days like the ones held to celebrate the re-interment of King Richard III or the 50th anniversary of the department of genetics. Open days are a chance for the public to come and see what we do, and people are amazingly interested in our research. I love open days and talking to the public, often you’re in charge of an activity that people can come and do, and it might not be specifically related to your work (I’ve presented a lot of human genetics activities!), but they’ll often still ask about your actual work. From my experience people are interested and supportive, and this can make a really lovely change from the constant cycle of peer review and general criticism we harden ourselves to in academia.
The second option is working with groups of school children who come to the university for “taster days”. Every year in genetics we hold Dynamic DNA – this is a two day event where hundreds of school children come and take part in dozens of different science based activities. As part of Dynamic DNA you often get to try something new (which can be daunting if you then immediately have to teach someone else how to do it!) and the kids love it! The pay is good and there are no marking requirements so no worries about heavy work loads. Dynamic DNA is coming up again in Sept so I’ll post about it again soon.
The third thing is something I’ve only done a little of through the University (although I’ve done a lot with the Brilliant Club) and that’s actually going into schools. Earlier this year I went and delivered an assembly about the discovery of Richard III as we were preparing for the re-interment. I went and spoke to an entire primary school (luckily I didn’t have to prepare the actual presentation, just deliver it) about how he was discovered, how the university identified him and why we wanted to re-inter him at Leicester Cathedral. This was a very different outreach experience for me, but definitely gave a chance to flex my presentation muscles.
Realising opportunities (RO) is a programme run by several universities with the aim of supporting students from low participation backgrounds into university. Students on the RO course are in Year 12 and take part in online tutorials to learn about things like referencing. To complete the course they research and write an assignment (on whatever topic they choose) with support from me. I currently have 3 RO students all writing science/genetics based assignments. I check in regularly with them through emails and will probably be getting draft assignments from them soon. These students are my first with RO so I can’t tell you how much of a time commitment the marking is as I haven’t done it yet, but with only 3 students I’m anticipating it to be quicker than Brilliant Club (12 students) and undergraduate (20 students) marking.
I’m sure opportunities vary across departments so if you’re looking for paid work ask around and see what other PhD students in your department are up to. Once the people in charge of organising these kind of things know you’ll willing to help out you will undoubtedly find more offers for paid work coming your way.