UCLan Students2020-07-20T11:51:35+01:00

UCLan Students

Be More Enterprising

We are a support service open to every student, graduate and staff member here at UCLan. If you need a hand, Propeller can help you explore self-employment options and develop enterprise skills. Do this by accessing our resources including skills workshops, mentoring, awards, facilities and networks to meet all your needs.


We know that your course takes priority when you’re at university, but getting real-world experience is also important. If you’re ready to set yourself apart through experience, freelancing is a great option. Working for yourself is a great way to show potential employers that you understand how businesses work, apply yourself to different areas and be an innovative thinker.

Freelancing is a great way to start, as you can work as much or as little as you want. Some examples of work you can do include:

  • Tutor GCSE students
  • Sell art on commission
  • Manage social media for business
  • Build apps
  • Design websites

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, our online platform for freelancing skills development Flightpath is a great place. Then, once you’re ready to look for work, you can create a portfolio on UCLan Talent.


Although people see us as a self-employment service, you don’t have to work for yourself to benefit from Propeller. Not everyone we work with has a business – we see people who are only looking at their options, or students who only want help on an assignment too.

If you’re not sure about your career path just yet, why not keep your options open? We can help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to work across industries, collaborate with other departments and present new ideas. Understanding the breadth of business can help you adapt to changes in job, taking on contract work or switching career. Alongside that, we can help you develop transferable skills such as resilience, solutions-based thinking and speaking in public with confidence.

A career path is not set in stone. Because we constantly grow and evolve, we want to equip you with the skills you need to do so effortlessly.


Some students already know that they will have to work self-employed to succeed in their industry; for example, it’s pretty common for artists. However, others choose to run their own company because they have an idea that nobody else is working on. Some people just don’t like working under others. Whatever the reason, self-employment can be:

  • a top-up on your main income
  • an alternative to traditional career paths
  • something you want to do years down the line
  • just a back-up plan

It doesn’t matter whether you work for yourself full-time, part-time or only occasionally, we can help you get started.


We think you’ll find all of the Propeller services useful, but there are a few that are best suited for the start of your journey. Why not try out the following?

  • Flightpath
  • UCLan Talent
  • Workshops
  • 1-1 Mentor advice
  • Hot-desks
  • Propeller Enterprise Award

For more information on the above, visit our services page, or contact us

Success Stories


What’s the difference between freelancing, owning a business and self-employment?2020-07-20T11:33:44+01:00

What’s the difference between freelancing, owning a business and self-employment?

Self-employment means working for yourself, rather than being employed by a company or other person. If you’re self-employed, you have to submit your own tax returns and don’t automatically receive benefits such as sick pay or maternity pay. Owning a business and freelancing are both types of self-employment.


Freelancing is doing particular pieces of work ad-hoc for other people or companies. For instance, if an accountant needs a website but does not need to employ a permanent web-designer, then they may choose to hire a freelancer for a set project. As a freelancer, you will typically be known as a ‘sole-trader’.

Owning a Business

Owning a business is different, as it typically involves hiring other people or working with co-owners. You could set up a LTD company, incorporation, community interest group or be a sole-trader. For more information about different business types, it’s best to attend our workshop Structuring Your Business. You can also ask a mentor.

What is the difference between Propeller and the Careers service?2020-07-20T11:33:17+01:00

What is the difference between Propeller and the Careers service?

The UCLan Careers service offers advice and support surrounding employability and career paths. They advertise job opportunities with businesses. They also help UCLan students and graduates to write CV’s, prepare for interview, understand industries, and much more.

Typically, if you need self-employment support, that is when you come to Propeller.  We can help you draw up a business plan, start freelancing, set up a business, work on finance and practice pitching.

For more information about what we offer, come to a drop-in session. See our ‘What’s On‘ page for details.

Do I have to pay anything?2020-07-20T11:32:49+01:00

Do I have to pay anything?

Propeller offers free business support to students and alumni of UCLan. This includes all of our workshops, 1-1 mentor advice, networking events and online professional development.

Renting a desk or hot-desking from the Propeller Hub can incur a charge; however, hot-desking is free for current students.

We are able to offer our services for free as part of UCLan and also because we receive partial funding from the ERDF U Start Programme.

How can you help me if I already work for myself?2020-07-20T11:31:45+01:00

How can you help me if I already work for myself?

Our mentors can offer you 1-1 advice to help you grow your business and we have external mentors that can help you in specialised areas. If you are weak in some skill areas, our workshops can help you level up, too. We can also offer you a place to work from in the Propeller Hub, secure work through UCLan Talent and connect you with other business support.

How is this relevant to my course?2020-07-20T11:32:20+01:00

How is this relevant to my course?

Some courses lead to career paths with a lot of self-employment, such as dance, journalism or web design. We work alongside many of these courses already, but Propeller is always there for extra support.

In addition, an increasing number of employers are looking for enterprise skills when they recruit graduates, such as the NHS. We can help you develop transferable skills that give you a better chance of demonstrating that you’re right for the job.

Even if your course is not business-related, you can still benefit from learning enterprise skills.

What if I don’t want to start a business?2020-07-20T11:31:15+01:00

What if I don’t want to start a business?

Then you don’t have to! You can still come to our workshops and networking events, even if you don’t want to run a business. We think it’s important to know how businesses work and these skills can be applied in many different ways.

How can I balance working for myself with my studies and social life?2020-07-20T11:30:48+01:00

How can I balance working for myself with my studies and social life?

If you’re a student, studies should be your primary focus whilst at university. We would never recommend spending more time on your business than your course, but your flexible schedule provides an advantage. If you’re looking to work when it suits you, rather than in shifts, then freelancing can be the right kind of work for you. You can also take breaks for exams, carry on when you return home and continue after graduation. At the end of the day, the amount of time you spend working for yourself is up to you. If you’re interested in freelancing, you can find out more on Flightpath.

Can I start a business on a student visa?2020-07-20T11:30:08+01:00

Can I start a business on a student visa?

If you are from outside Europe, no. If you are studying on a tier 4 visa, you can not work self-employed.

EU citizens do not currently need special permission to start a business in the UK. Those who have acceded the EU however (such as Bulgaria and Romania) may have to apply for permission, unless you qualify for exemption.

Can any student access your service?2020-07-20T11:25:14+01:00

Can any student access your service?

We can support students from any course, at any level of study. Students can either attend our extra curricular programme or receive specific support relating to their course of study where it relates to enterprise or entrepreneurship. Our extra curricular programme comprises of mentoring, workshops, networking, competitions, grants and managed workspace.

Can I use the Propeller Hub?2020-07-20T11:50:05+01:00

Can I use the Propeller Hub?

The Propeller Hub is usually open to students, alumni and commercial businesses.

Students currently get free hot-desks, but should only use them for enterprise activity. For a charge, hot desks and rental desks are available to businesses and pre-startups.

The Propeller Hub is currently closed due to COVID-19. Social distancing measures will be in place when we return. 

Is any funding available?2020-07-20T11:23:37+01:00

Is any funding available?

We have an annual award called the Propeller Enterprise Award for students and recent graduates (within 12 months of graduation). We offer up to £1,000 to help support pre- and early-stage start ups get off the ground.

Our business mentors have experience in helping businesses identify appropriate sources of funding, and we can also refer you to the Investment Readiness team. Contact us today if you would like to find out about funding teampropeller@uclan.ac.uk.

How do I register?2020-07-20T11:23:11+01:00

How do I register?

You can book onto workshops online, as well as booking appointments either over the phone (01772 895950) or in-person at reception (Media Factory 401).

We will take some contact details and make arrangements for you and the first time you visit us, you’ll have to complete some paperwork.

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