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Student work year and commitment.

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Hi guys,


my nephew is training to be a optometrist. Part of his university deal was he would he a one year work experience and in 4th year do some research and get a masters.


Part of the deal was either pay £8000 to the store of training or work for one year after qualification for one year.


£8000 covered his training and help along with perk of working and being paid minimum wage. It also covered the cost of the “mini masters”.

(one year he has worked, got paid £7.00 odd pounds and was treated like crap, little training and a lot of shouting)


Now he is going to have his masters soon in July and does not have the £8000 to get out of the contract.


  1. The store was not of his choosing in fact got cheated by his university.

  2. The store paid absolutely the worse wages of any of his class fellows.

  3. After qualification he is going to get minimum wage only.


Main problem is either he drives to work or catches a train.


Driving is 2 hours per shift and train is about 3.5 hours.


Having had a word with the store owner he said all he is going to pay for 12 months is minimum wage and he is not obliged to pay more.


So we need help with either negotiating or getting out of the contract.


We simply do not know what to say or do to either convince the director to take the £8000 in installments or pay more.


Please note if my nephew works for minimum wage he will be earning 1/3 of his class fellows.



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I am not sure all information has been given for anyone to advise on this properly.


Someone would need to sit down and read through every document that your Nephew was provided with, to examine the exact basis of what he has agreed to. 


I can only suggest that your Nephew seeks help from the University in the first instance, as they seem to be party to these contractural arrangements. Or if the University is not helpful, is he a member of Students Union or any organisation that can assist in reviewing this ? 


Full details should have been provided before agreeing to an arrangement, to see whether it was the best available. Perhaps the paid work experience jobs being paid at a higher wage rate were all taken and your Nephew had no choice but to take the one for minimum wage.  Perhaps the one paying minimum wage is a smaller company and they could not afford to pay more. 


If your Nephew can obtain a much better paid job elsewhere, then why not just break the contract by not working for minimum wage for the year . Earn a lot more elsewhere and offer to pay the £8k by instalments, if he has definitely agreed to pay £8k if he does not work for them. As long as your Nephew is paying what he contracturally agreed to, then I am not sure there is much the company could do about this. 

We could do with some help from you.



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thank you.


What he wants to do either pay the £8000 over some time, lets say a year or get paid more as hes qualified with masters degree.


initially the contract was for boots specs however the talk is uni professors did not get enough kick back so therefore they said either go else where or get what you are given. some even traveled 100 miles for there placement. as the contract had alot of ifs and buts students were stuck. whole purpose of the degree was that they worked for boots.


Student union or visit to some cheap solicitor is in order.



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we would need to see the terms of the course to help resolve this as with the sketchy version given it looks as though his complaint is with the university and their forcing of an unfair contract upon him.

rubbish work placements are the norm but i havent com across one where you pay to do the placement so it looks as though the couse admin people have the worst negotiating skills in the world.

My son had to do 1 yr professional practice to become an architect and although he ended up with a third rate company that didnt pay him other than expenses  he wasnt expected to pay them for the pleasure of designing bathrooms, his previous placement was with Lord Foster working on the new Eurostar terminal and he got paid for that and not expected to reimburse anyone afterwards and I dont think his fellow students were enslaved either.

If the going rate for thejob is 3 times the MW then he asks fro that salary to work there and if they say no then they have frustrated the contract, not him.

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