A company which transports student belongings to university, has doubled its workforce in preparation for its busiest trading period next month.
Paul Stewart (24) established Uni Baggage in 2009 while at university and reported that this years has been the busiest to date, with the firm seeing record sales and doubling its turnover since this time in 2012.
To date it has transported more than 1,000 tons of student belongings, travelling 6,000,000 miles to destinations such as Hong Kong, Australia and USA.
There are potentially 20,000 new students that travel outside Northern Ireland to study each year.
Mr Stewart said that while the core of the business comes from students, this year’s sales were buoyed by holidaymakers using the service over the summer to save money on airline excess baggage bills.
A survey of 2,000 students carried out by the firm found that on average a first year student transports approximately 50kg (seven stone) of personal effects.
The heaviest weight couriered in one transaction last September was 300kg.
And the strangest item Uni Baggage has been asked to ship was a human skeleton for a biology student.
Women send more than their male counterparts — 75kg (approximately 11 stone), often more than their own body weight.
Katy Press (20) from Downpatrick, who is off to study PR & Communications at Northumbria University, said she found out about the firm through friends who use the service to transport their belongings back and forth to university.
“It’s really easy to use and cuts down the hassle of transporting heavy bags yourself,” she said.
“The tracking is also a big plus as posting is expensive and belongings can go missing.
“I’m not surprised that girls pack more than guys — every new term I seem to have 40 pairs of new shoes.
“I’m just a typical girl that is interested in clothes and make-up and as university is my home from home, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”