So you’re 16. You want to work, but you have no idea where to start.
If you’ve never worked before, entering the world of work can be a daunting prospect. If you’re not sure what job you can do, or what your rights are, look no further.
Here’s a handful of helpful hints to get your career off on the right foot:
What hours can I work?
First things first: you have to know your rights. You might be willing to work every available hour and start seriously saving some cash, but it’s equally important to know exactly what you’re entitled to. What’s more, you need to make sure your employer is similarly aware.
In terms of hours, it’s broken down by the following:
- For 15 to 16-year-olds, you can work 12 hours a week (maximum)
- Of this 12 hours, a maximum of two hours on school days and Sundays
- A maximum of eight hours on a Saturday
- For 15 to 16-year-olds, you can work 35 hours a week (maximum)
- A maximum of eight hours on a Saturdays and weekdays
- A maximum of two hours on a Sunday
For 16 to 17-year-olds, you can work 40 hours per week, a maximum of eight hours per day. Legally you cannot work more than this (even if you want to).
How much will I get paid?
All employees are entitled to National Minimum Wage, although the amount you get is dependent on your age.
The current minimum wage for under 18’s is £4.81 per hour. For apprentices, the rate is £4.81 per hour.
For more information about national minimum wage, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
What job can I do?
There’s a wide range of options, depending on your situation. So whether you want to work part-time whilst continuing your studies, take up an apprenticeship and learn a trade ‘on-the-job’, or just dive straight into full-time working life, there’s a job out there for you.
I’m still studying but want to work part-time
If you’re going into sixth-form or college and want to earn while you learn, finding the right part-time position can be crucial. Retail is probably the easiest industry to enter with no experience and most employers are flexible enough to allow you to work the hours which work best for you.
Aside from retail, waiter/waitressing and working as a member of event staff are both great ways to earn extra money both after studying and during the holidays, and can include extras if the job comes with tips.
I’ve left school and am looking for an apprenticeship
If you’re looking for a new skill or trade and want to learn in a practical setting, an apprenticeship could be the perfect career move for you. Anyone over 16 in the UK who is not currently in full-time education can apply for an apprenticeship, and many employers actively encourage younger applicants.
In terms of industry, there is a common misconception that apprenticeships are only available for skilled labour positions. However, there are actually hundreds of different types, ranging from Health, Beauty and Cosmetics to Construction and Property to Graphic Design.
I’ve left school and want to start earning
If you’re looking to leave school and start earning right away, there are a number of career options available. You just have to play to your strengths.
Gift of the gab? A job in Sales could be a perfect fit, and can prove to be extremely lucrative (both financially and in terms of career progression) for those who excel. If you’re looking for something with more of a property focus, becoming an Estate Agent could be for you. Organisation more your thing? Admin and Secretarial jobs are a great start, and can open up a world of job opportunities, including Office Management, PA and EA roles.
So no matter what you want to do with your career, don’t rule anything out. Whatever you’re interested in, there will be an entry level job to help you get there.
I’ve left school and want to try something different
If none of the above appeals to you, it might be time to think outside the box and consider a slightly less conventional career path.
The armed forces have ongoing recruitment drives for school leavers and can offer a wide range of opportunities, from combat and intelligence, through to enginnering and HR.
University isn’t for me, but I want to keep learning
University isn’t for everyone. And, whatever your reasoning, it may be that you just haven’t found the right course for you. Luckily, higher education doesn’t have to stop there.
There’s a wide range of different courses which may help you fast-track your career in an area that really interests you. So, whether it’s taking an accredited Accounting qualification, wanting to make it in Marketing or having your heart set on hairdressing, there’s something out there for you.
Here are some of our top tips when starting out in your career:
- Get your cover letter covered
- Tailor your CV to every role
- Use voluntary positions and internship to help your CV stand out
- Practice your interview preparation
- Play to your strengths when it comes to deciding what job to look for
If you don’t hear back from recruiters, don’t worry. If it’s your first time applying for a permanent position, it will probably take some practice to get everything right.
Remember: everyone’s faced job seeking rejection at some point in their career. Don’t get discouraged and learn as much as you can from any feedback you’re given.
*All information was correct at time of writing. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/child-employment for more.