Rising stars: walk this way

The Gateway turns the spotlight on Christopher Dobbing and Andrey Pronin, who founded a tour guide company that helps students at Oxford and Cambridge fund their way through university

Two Cambridge students have found an imaginative way of meeting the rising costs of studying - by launching a company offering walking tours of Oxford and Cambridge, which uses students as tour guides.

Oxbridge Tours, which was formed last year by Christopher Dobbing of Pembroke College and Andrey Pronin of Fitzwilliam College, already employs 26 students from both Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University. The tour guides give tourists, schools and corporate conference groups an insight into academic life, both past and present, by showing them around the city.

The pair have even received a thumbs-up from the MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert. He attended one of their student-led tours last week and seemed very impressed by what he experienced. Julian said: "Oxbridge Tours is an innovative and entrepreneurial way to help students meet the rising cost of higher education without detracting from their studies. It is important that students have access to study-friendly employment opportunities as the cost of education rises, and I am pleased to see Cambridge students leading the way on this issue."

Cambridge colleges are known for their strict rules about students having part time jobs, but Christopher explains: "We restrict our guides to four hours per week during term time. It's really important to us that fellow students are able to meet the costs of studying and also meet their academic commitments. With tips, guides can often earn enough in a week for a week's accommodation and living costs."

The company offers a "Walk of Fame" tour which focuses on the famous members of the university and what they accomplished at Cambridge. It includes everything from the invention of the computer to the discovery of DNA and even the development of the modern rules of football. They also offer private tours for prospective students and their parents.

The pair are hoping to expand their business model to other university towns such as Edinburgh, Bath, Bristol and York to support students across the country.

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