UCLan Students2020-03-11T11:41:01+00:00

UCLan Students

Develop Your Enterprising Mind

We are a support service open to every student and graduate. Propeller can help you explore self-employment options and develop enterprise skills. Access our resources including skills workshops, mentoring, awards, facilities and networks to meet all your needs.


Your course takes priority when you’re at university, but getting real-world experience is also important. 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 freelance work include:

  • Tutoring GCSE students
  • Selling art on commission
  • Managing social media for business
  • Building apps
  • Designing websites

Our online platform for freelancing skills development Flightpath is a great place to start if you’re thinking about working whilst you study. Once you’re ready to look for work, you can then create a portfolio on UCLan Talent.


You don’t have to be self-employed to benefit from Propeller. Develop the skills and knowledge you need to work across industries, collaborate with other departments and present new ideas.

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

Understanding the breadth of business can help you adapt to changes in job, taking on contract work or switching career.


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

  • a supplement to your main income
  • an alternative to traditional career paths
  • an aspiration for 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.


You’ll find all of the Propeller services useful, but the following are a great starting point:

  • Flightpath
  • UCLan Talent
  • Workshops
  • 1-1 Mentor advice
  • Free hot-desking
  • 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?2020-03-11T12:55:46+00:00

Self-employment means working for yourself, rather than being employed by a company or other person. Self-employed people have to submit their own tax returns and don’t automatically receive benefits such as sick pay or maternity pay.

Freelancing and owning a business 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 designing, but does not need to employ a permanent web-designer then they may choose to hire a freelancer for a set period of time, or set amount of work. As a freelancer you will typically be known as a ‘sole-trader’.

Owning a business is different to this, as this typically involves hiring other people or working with co-owners. For more information about different business types, it’s best to attend our workshop Structuring Your Business, or talking to a mentor.

What is the difference between Propeller and the Careers service?2020-03-11T12:25:07+00:00

The UCLan Careers service offers advice and support surrounding employability and career paths. They advertise job opportunities and can support UCLan students and graduates with writing CV’s, preparing for interview, understanding industries, and much more. Typically, if you need self-employment support, that is when you are referred to Propeller (or you can come directly to us).  This can include drawing up a business plan, freelancing, setting up a business, working on finance and tax, pitching practice, etc.

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?2020-03-11T12:02:55+00:00

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?2020-03-10T13:18:52+00:00

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?2020-03-11T11:40:03+00:00

Certain courses lead to career paths in industries with a lot of self-employment and contract work, such as dance, journalism or web design. We work alongside many of these courses directly, but for anyone looking for extra support, Propeller should be their first point of call.

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 and core employability skills that will give you a better chance of demonstrating that you’re right for the job.

So even if your course itself might not be business-related, you can still benefit from learning enterprise skills.

What if I don’t want to start a business?2020-03-10T13:19:06+00:00

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?2020-03-10T13:19:13+00:00

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 you are in the unique position of having a flexible schedule. 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?2020-03-11T11:38:23+00:00

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?2020-03-11T11:43:08+00:00

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 space?2020-03-10T13:25:32+00:00

The Propeller Hub is open to students, alumni and commercial businesses associated with UCLan.

Current students can register for a free hot desk. Graduates are offered hot-desking and dedicated desk space at a reduced rate, and commercial businesses associated with UCLan are also welcome to hot desk or rent a dedicated desk from us. To discuss using the space, please contact teampropeller@uclan.ac.uk.

We are currently undergoing a price review; this information is correct as of March 2020.

Is any funding available?2020-03-11T12:58:46+00:00

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?2020-03-10T13:48:56+00:00

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.

Get your idea off the ground

Start Today