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What jobs can 16-year-olds do? Everything you need to know

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What jobs can 16-year-olds do?Getty Images


You've just hit your sweet sixteenth, and finally, you can finally get your first taste of adulthood. You've got your GCSE's on the horizon, and you may be thinking about trying to save some cash for the summer hols. The best way to earn some money? Finding yourself a job, of course.

Trying to get work when you've just turned 16 can be way harder than you'd like it to be. There's so much to consider - especially when you don't have relevant work experience or really know what kind of industry you want to go into.

Hannah Grabham, a careers advisor at the National Careers Service (NCS) tells Cosmopolitan UK: “When thinking about your next steps at 16, there are lots of options available to you. You can stay in full-time education, pursue an apprenticeship or technical education, or do part-time training if you are employed, self-employed or volunteering for at least 20 hours a week.

“16-year-olds can do most jobs part-time alongside any education or training – like tutoring, working in retail and waiting in a restaurant. These are all great ways to learn more about the world of work, meet new people and earn that all important money. Some may have specific career ambitions though – and might be looking for an opportunity to be paid whilst furthering this. For these people, technical educational routes could be a great and accessible ‘in’ to many exciting job opportunities.

“If this sounds like you, it’s really worth familiarising yourself with what’s available to you, as you may find a pathway to a dream career which you would otherwise have felt was out of reach. Technical education and training pathways, such as apprenticeships, in particular are worth exploring.”

Grabham adds that if you're still exploring options, the best place to start is the Skills for Life website.

“It maps out all of the available training and education routes to help you make an informed decision," she explains. “Alternatively, if you’d like to speak with someone directly, you can speak with a National Careers Service adviser free of charge.”

While it might seem a little daunting, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about getting a part time job as a 16 year old.

What do jobs for 16 year olds pay?

The National Minimum Wage for under 18s is currently £6.40 per hour, but you must be at least 16 to earn this. This doesn't mean you have to be 16 to have a job, but it does mean that if you are between 16-18, you should try and make sure your employer is paying you the proper rate.

How many hours a week can a 16 year old work?

It’s important that any job you take on doesn’t interfere with your education, which outline when you can and can't legally work. The guidelines explain that 16-year-olds can't work:

  • During school hours

  • Before 7am or after 7pm

  • For more than one hour before school

  • For more than four hours at a time, without taking a break of an hour

  • In a factory, industrial site or anywhere that may be harmful to health

There are also restrictions on the amount of hours you can work during the week, limited to a maximum of 12 hours per week during term time, and 35 hours per week during school holidays.

What jobs for 16 year olds actually are there?

There are more employment options available to you than you initially thought. Yes, really!

Retail or waitressing jobs are a great starting point to pocket a bit of extra money while you’re studying, and most offer flexible working hours, so you can easily work around school or sixth form. Many stores also offer temporary hours over Christmas.

Babysitting or dog walking are also ways to show to employers that you’re trustworthy and responsible when you come to apply for jobs. Begin by asking family friends or relatives if they need help, and ask them to give recommendations to friends to build up a portfolio of clients.

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Blogging or influencing can feel like running your own online business, and it’s an excellent way to show off your writing, filming or photography skills if you’re thinking about eventually working in a creative industry. Although you won’t initially get paid for your work, if your page is popular you could get paid for reviewing products and showing adverts on your site. This, however, requires a lot of patience, a lot of work and a great deal of luck.

Online retail can be quite an easy way to make some money, with websites such as eBay, Depop and Vinted offering means to sell goods you no longer want. You can kill two birds with one stone - clearing out your wardrobe and earning some extra cash. Or, if you're thrifty and like making your own wares, you could list some of your creations on Etsy. Remember, there can be some rules surrounding tax if you're a prolific online seller - you can read about that here.

Paper rounds might sound old-fashioned, but they're a starting point if you’ve never had a job before, and allow you to work before or after school. Ask at your local newsagents for vacancies.

Voluntary work can boost your CV if you’re worried that you don’t have enough work experience, and put you ahead of the pack when it comes to applying for jobs. Yes you might not be earning any money, but it's great experience - both for applying for work or any future opportunities, such as applying for college or universities.

Apprenticeships are a great career option if you’re 16 or over and looking to earn money while you learn new skills. There are hundreds of different types, ranging from health and beauty to digital marketing to construction and property.

“Apprenticeships provide training at an entry-level to a selected profession," Grabham says. “They allow you to earn a wage while you learn, and you'll work alongside experienced staff who will both manage and provide you with a great springboard for future career opportunities. There are over 600 types of apprenticeships available, across a variety of industries – from cyber security to hospitality and the food industry. No matter what career you’re interested in, there’s likely to be an apprenticeship for you.”

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