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How To Find A Job At 16 In The UK

22 February 2019
Zara Woodcock
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Getting a job at 16 years-old can feel like a daunting idea. However, more and more teenagers are getting part-time jobs, whether to help with the family or to have extra cash to spend. The job search can sometimes be difficult with no experience and no clues on which industry to choose from. It’s a good thing there’s a multitude of options.

There are several legalities and processes to go through when it comes to 16-year-olds getting a part-time job, which is why we are here to help!


1. What Is The Minimum Wage?

Currently, the National Minimum Wage sits at £4.20 per hour. It will not be until April 2019 that the wage is increased to £4.35 per hour. For apprentices the rate is lower at £3.70. How much you get paid depends on the industry and role you choose. For example, a waitressing role could earn you a lot more with tips and a sales job could earn you some commissions on top of your normal rate.

As the national minimum wage changes every year, it is best to keep an eye on the GOV.UK website to see if you are getting paid the correct wage.

2. How Many Hours Can I Work?

When you are under 18, it is vital part-time work does not interfere with your education and family life. There are several restrictions to the amount you can legally work depending on whether it is during term time or school holidays. You cannot work:

  • Before 7am or after 7pm
  • During school hours
  • For more than four hours at time, without a break in between
  • More than 35 hours a week during school holidays
  • More than 12 hours per week during term time


3. What Jobs Can I Get As A 16-Year-Old?

There are many jobs you are able to get. It all depends on whether you want to work part-time whilst studying, take up an apprenticeship, or dive straight into full-time work. Here are a few popular jobs for teenagers.

  • Retail is the most popular starting choice for a first job. They offer more flexible working hours and provide many benefits. It may take a while getting used to dealing with customers, but the job will teach you communication, leadership, and organisational skills.
  • Waiting jobs are also popular. This option will get you a lot more extra money in tips than others will. As it is a social job, it will also teach you the key communication and leadership skills that are important in life.
  • Dog walking may sound a little bit different, but it is a necessary business for busy people. You get paid for looking after dogs. What’s not to love?
  • Babysitting may be a good option for those who do not want to be thrown into the busyness of retail. It is a demanding job but will show future employers why you are trustworthy and responsible.

Have a read of our list of the top 10 retail employers to give you an idea of where to apply. If none of these are what you are interested in, have a look at our website for other types of jobs available.


4. What Do I Need Before I Get A Job?

The most important thing to have before getting a job is your own National Insurance number. The NI number exists to make sure tax and contributions are recorded. Most people (living in the UK) will automatically get their NI number a few months before they turn 16. However, if you haven’t received one or are from outside the UK, you will need to call the National Insurance Application line at 0800 141 2075 and they will tell you what to do next.

Sometimes, it will be required to provide proof before getting a NI number. This may come in the form of a phone call or interview. Before a NI interview, JobCentre Plus may send you a letter about where the interview is taking place. They may require you to bring your: Passport, Provisional (if you have one), Birth Certificate, and proof of address.

Before accepting a job offer, make sure to check out more information on the company you may be working for. It is better to check before accepting a job you will not enjoy. If you don’t hear back from recruiters, it’s okay. Applying to your first job takes some practice, and once you receive your first position, it will feel great.