Finding a job or voluntary work

The youngest age you can work part-time is 13, except if you are involved in areas such as television, theatre and modelling (children working in these areas will need a performance licence).

You can start full-time work once you have officially left school (you can work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week) but remember that you must be in some form of learning until you are 18 years old. So any job you do, including working for a family business or for yourself (self-employment), must include part-time education or training. Once you reach 18, adult employment rights and rules apply.

More information is available on the government website.


When you are ready to look for a job, these websites and sources can help you find one:

  • Job search sites, such as fish4jobs and Get my first job
  • Jobcentre Plus (your local job centre).
  • Universal jobmatch - this government site enables you to search and apply for full or part-time jobs.
  • Local newspapers - for example, the Birmingham Mail features a jobs section every Thursday.
  • Employment agencies - they can help you to find temporary and permanent jobs.
  • Personal contacts - ask your friends and family if they know about any vacancies.
  • Local high streets - you can often find part-time or holiday work advertised in shop or restaurant windows.
  • Online directories, such as to find employers and employment agencies.
  • Check employer websites to see if they are advertising any jobs, or consider sending them a speculative letter or CV.


Becoming self employed

You first need to come up with a realistic idea that you can turn into a product or service. You will then need to test the market and develop a business plan. You’ll also need funding to set the business up.

Advice about starting your own business is available on the government website.

You can also contact Shell LiveWIRE. Established in 1982, this programme offers free online business advice and funding for young entrepreneurs (16-30 year olds).

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme can help you decide whether self-employment is right for you. It offers help to 18 to 30 year olds who are either unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week.


Minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice.

The rates are usually updated every October. For the latest information go to the Government website.



Working part-time while you're still at school

You can work part time while you are stillat school but there are some restrictions in place to ensure your safety and wellbeing and to ensure your work does not impact your education. These are:

  • You must be at least 13 years old
  • You cannot work in places like a factory or industrial site.

Your working hours are also restricted to protect you. You cannot work:

  • During school hours.
  • Before 7am or after 7pm.
  • For more than one hour before school (unless local bylaws allow it).
  • For more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour.

There are also special rules which only apply during term times and school holidays. For example, during term time you can only work a maximum of 12 hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of 2 hours on school days/Sundays.
  • A maximum of 5 hours on Saturdays for 13 to 14-year-olds or 8 hours for 15 to 16-year-olds.

During school holidays, 13 to 14-year-olds can work a maximum of 25 hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of 5 hours on weekdays/Saturdays.
  • A maximum of 2 hours on Sundays.

During school holidays, 15 to 16-year-olds can work a maximum of 35 hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of 8 hours on weekdays/Saturdays.
  • A maximum of 2 hours on Sundays.

Full details are available on the government website.


Voluntary work

Although the work is usually unpaid, there are lots of good reasons to become a volunteer, such as doing something useful in your spare time, making a contribution to your community, meeting new people, making friends or learning a new skill. It’s also a great way to gain experience, which may also help you with your future career plans.

Use these websites to find out more:

One Walsall and Do it offers local volunteering opportunities.

National Citizen Service is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England. It helps you build your skills for work and life, while you take on new challenges and meet new friends. Participants develop a social action project to deal with a local issue they’re passionate about, and spend 30 hours putting the project into action in their community.

Volunteering Matters. This was formerly called CSV (Community Service Volunteers) and they offer a range of volunteering opportunities.





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