A STUDENT parking scheme undercutting a nearby city council run car park has netted £15,000 in the first few months.

Since the end of last year, students from Oxford and Cherwell Valley College have been inviting shoppers and visitors to the city centre to park in the college’s Oxpens car park for just £5 a day.

At the nearby Westgate Car park, just one hour costs £3.

The money from the project is all ploughed back in to helping student enterprise schemes off the ground.

The college has created a Community Interest Company, SweetFE which manages the parking project and other similar ventures.

Business manager Christan Lucy, coordinates all the enterprise activities at the college, including parking.

He said: “Every Saturday and Sunday members of the public can come and park at the Oxford campus, which is opposite the Oxford Ice Rink, all day by making a donation towards the Student fund of only £5.

“Not only is the contribution to the student fund a much-needed financial resource, but the actual project provides far more than just income to the students studying at the college.”

The parking project is run by the college’s public services students who are training in stewarding and security.

Mr Lucy said the project provided them with real-life exposure to customers and situations that gave them ‘experience as well as a qualification’.

He said this gave them the edge over other students looking for future employment.

The students who work on the parking project are also paid employees of the college with contracts of employment and taking part in normal staff induction processes.

Eighteen-year-old students Javaad Alam, from Cowley, and Sam Walker, from Kidlington, are among those who work at the weekend.

Mr Alam said: “It’s working really well. People still complain about the price, but its a lot cheaper than anywhere else.”

Mr Lucy added: “This project gives our students the possibility of a headstart in their career by providing experience to go onto their CVs, additional training that is outside of the normal curriculum and as an added bonus, they are paid employees so earning while they are learning.

“Opening up the college car park at Oxford is just the first of a number of enterprise projects which will be run through SweetFE at the college.”

Graham Jones, spokesman for Oxford traders’ group Rox, said: “This a fantastic scheme.

“We welcome anything that brings shoppers and trade into Oxford.”

The scheme has proved so successful that the college has decided to run it indefinitely.