"The best job you will ever have."

- Kayleigh Teague, VP Education & Democracy 2014-15

Where will it take you?

Register your interest

Becoming a full-time Sabbatical Officer for the next year, from June, is the best way to effect change for students at the University of Portsmouth. You will gain an amazing amount of experience, develop new skills, work with the highest levels of the University and lead a registered charity as one of its trustees.

Unique Opportunity

Sabbatical Officers (Sabbs) are the full-time leaders of the Students’ Union. As trustees of a registered charity, you will directly steer the work of the Union and everything we do. Day-to-day you could be helping other students in need, chairing important meetings with the University or putting on events. By the time you complete your year as a Sabb, you will have played a huge part in a range of projects, not only shaping the Union, but the University as well.

It may sound like a long time, but a year really does go by in a flash at the Union. There’s so much going on from the get-go, that at the end of your 12-month post you’ll be able to look back and say ‘Wow, I really did all that’. A year may sound like a big investment, but it’s most certainly a sound one - you will get a fantastic experience in return that not many others will have, something that employers will be really keen to learn about. Your experience as a trustee, a leader, a public speaker can all be found within this 12-month window. It’s a fantastic challenge, where you’ll learn lots about yourself and how to work with others.

Holding office as a Sabbatical Officer and representing over 24,000 students is a full-time role (35 hours a week) with a starting salary of £19,000. It's one of the most fun experiences that you get paid to do. You’ll also get a pension setup and receive other benefits including 30 days of annual leave (on top of bank holidays and the five day Christmas closure).

In addition, the Union offers flexible working hours helping you to work when it best suits you and ‘flex’ any overtime you have accrued to bag an extra day off.

No previous experience required. To nominate and apply for these positions, you will need the following credential: you must be a student. That’s it.

You don’t have to have lots of work experience or have been involved in the Students’ Union before. Your passion for Portsmouth is the most important thing, and it’s your drive and ideas that will persuade other students to vote for you.

Create Change

As a Sabbatical Officer, you'll be helping others everyday. As a team, the Sabbatical Officers work together to support one another.

Working for a registered charity is ultimately rewarding, you will be contributing to the student experience at Portsmouth and be part of the student movement in the UK.

The five full-time Sabbatical Officers represent needs and views of over 24,000 students. It’s a big responsibility, to act on others’ behalf to improve their university experience. As a student yourself, you’ll be best placed to make decisions that can affect thousands of people. You already know what will work, what’s a good fit for students and when something is not right.

You will operate at the highest levels of the University, working with the Vice-Chancellor and other university leaders, to influence positive change for students. You will have a seat at important university committees, where key decisions are made, and give voice to the students you represent. As well as championing students needs and ideas, you’ll also play a part in recognising good work across the University, from students and staff alike.

Beginning with the promises in your candidate manifesto, you'll be supported to run important campaigns and events on behalf of students.

You will have a budget and the support of a passionate team of staff to help make your ideas happen. Where you recognise a problem or an issue, you can change it.

Amazing Experience

Through these roles you will be able to develop desirable skills future employers will be looking for, including: Team work, professionalism, communication skills and public speaking.

Everyday is different at the Union, you could be introducing students to the Union for the first time through induction talks, visiting partners like Portsmouth Football Club or helping out students who’ve come to your office. You’ll receive a wealth of experience, in a short amount of time, that you can always call upon in your future careers.

As a Sabb, you’re on a journey and part of that adventure is learning more about yourself, your strengths and what you like/dislike. As you settle into the role, you will start to see the impact you’re having directly on students; from the campaigns and events you lead on, to the decisions made in high-level meetings. Having an impact with students is hugely rewarding and your confidence in yourself and your abilities will only grow.

As a student at the University of Portsmouth, you’re already qualified to take on the role of Sabbatical Officer. We don’t expect you know everything straight away; you’ll have an opportunity to spend two weeks with the outgoing post-holder before heading out for residential training. Previously, the Sabbatical Officer team has visited Brighton and Bournemouth for a week to begin the training process and start to bond as a team. Throughout the year, you’ll have the opportunity to receive all manner of training and experiences to further your learning, including: national conferences, communication and resilience training, and much much more.

You won’t doing it alone. As well as four other Sabbatical Officers, your team, who are on the same journey as you, there’s a family of 30 full-time staff here to support and guide you. You’ll find yourself working alongside all kinds of professionals, from Advice to Marketing, who are all here to help you and your ideas along. In addition, our buddy scheme ensures you’re paired up with other staff for that all important wellbeing support, meaning there’s always someone you can turn to, even if it’s just for a natter and cup of tea.

Elections Timeline

  • Nominations Deadline
    12pm Thursday 7 February
  • Candidate Academy Briefing
    Saturday 9 February
  • Manifesto & Publicity Deadline
    12pm Friday 15 February
  • Voting Opens
    10am Monday 25 February
  • Voting Closes
    6pm Thursday 28 February
  • Results Night
    7pm Thursday 28 February
  • Residential Training
    From June
  • Take Office
    1 July
    12-month full-time position!
Want to know more?

Want to know more?

Help is only an email away! If you're unsure about running or want to know more about any of the roles, email studentfocus@upsu.net and a member of friendly staff team will get back to you.

Take a year out, do something amazing

You can become a Sabbatical Officer at any stage of your student journey. You can either take a year out from your course (a sabbatical year) or run for a position in your final year, and take up the post when you graduate. Individuals can have a maximum of two terms, so you even have the option to run again after your first year as a Sabb. 

It’s a year you will never forget. It’s jam packed with opportunities and experiences, you will meet a diverse range of individuals from all walks of life and you’ll have all of this to look back on after 12-months which will propel you to your next job. Whatever your career path may be, a year as a Sabbatical Officer is invaluable asset, an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

You will be able to live and work in Portsmouth, the seafront city, and travel the country for conferences, campaigning and other networking opportunities.

How to apply

How to apply

Applying for one of these roles is easy, you simply need to submit your nomination. Nominating yourself is quick and easy to do, completing an online form to confirm your intentions and agree to the terms and conditions of forthcoming elections.

At this initial stage, you’re essentially throwing your hat in the ring. You don’t have to do anything else yet, your nomination lets the Union know that you want to take part in the elections and voting week held at the end of February.

At the close of nominations you’re invited to attend Candidate Academy, a short day of workshops and briefings to guide you in the next stages of the election. You’ll receive guidance on how to write a manifesto and campaign on campus, you’ll also be able to ask any questions about the role itself.


A year as a Sabbatical Officer

  • Summer (Jun - Aug)
  • Residential training
  • Take part in graduation ceremonies
  • Grad Ball
  • National conferences and networking
  • Autumn Term (Sep - Dec)
  • International student welcome
  • Welcome Weekend
  • Lead induction talks
  • Freshers' Fayre
  • Give it a Go Fortnight
  • Committee Training
  • Black History Month
  • Course Rep Conference
  • Annual Members Meeting
  • Christmas party
  • Christmas closure (extra week off!)
  • Spring Term (Jan - Apr)
  • Mental health campaign
  • LGBT History Month
  • Next elections (will you run again?)
  • Varsity Cup Tournament
  • Stressless campaign
  • Final Term (Apr - May)
  • Student Awards
  • Summer Ball
  • Summer (June)
  • Begin second term in office (if re-elected) or handover with next Sabbatical Officer Team
Where will it take you?

Where will it take you?

Previous Sabbs have gone on to other careers, taking their experience and skills with them. From joining graduate schemes, pursuing a career related to their course or continuing to work in the not-for-profit or HE sectors - having had a year (or two!) as a Sabb as helped them to reach their goals and career aspirations. 

Some Sabbs will find confidence they didn’t know they had, others will learn things about themselves that will help them to choose their next steps in life. It’s different for everyone but whatever their experience, our Sabbatical Officer alumni have often said being a Sabb was the best part of their University experience.

Where will it take you, a role of a lifetime and an intensive year as a trustee of an award winning charity?