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Jobs and voluntary work

Where to look for jobs

Check out the following:

  • 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.
  • Newspapers. For example, the Birmingham Mail has job adverts on a Thursday.
  • Employment agencies who 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 employers' websites to see if they are advertising any jobs, or consider sending them a speculative letter or CV. 


You will 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.

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 is also a great way to gain experience, which may also help you with your future career plans.

Use these websites to find out more:

  • Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) which lists 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 thirty hours putting the project into action in their community.
  • Volunteering Matters was formerly called CSV (Community Service Volunteers) and they offer a range of volunteering opportunities.

Qualifications needed for chosen career

Use the National Careers Service Job Profiles to check out careers.

Job trends and labour market information

The job market is constantly changing. You can use labour market information (LMI) to research job trends in different career areas.
Use the following websites to research LMI and to check what future trends are predicted for your chosen career:

  • Prospects: graduate job sector information.
  • The LMI for All portal provides high quality, reliable labour market information (LMI) to inform careers decisions.
  • UK Commission for Employment and Skills: If you are very keen, this provides a link to a report called Working Futures 2010 – 2020. It gives a comprehensive picture of the UK labour market with projections for occupations by industry and areas.

Minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on your age and whether you are an apprentice. The rates are usually updated every October. For the latest rates go to the Government website.

Age you can 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 forty hours a week). Once you reach eighteen, adult employment rights and rules apply. More information is available on the government website.

Part-time work restrictions for children at school

There are restrictions about what part-time work you can do and when you can do it. You must be at least thirteen years-old and you are not allowed to work in places like a factory or industrial site. You are also not allowed to work:

  • During school hours.
  • Before 7 am or after 7 pm.
  • For more than one hour before school (unless local by-laws allow it).
  • For more than four hours without taking a break of at least one 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 twelve hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of two hours on school days/Sundays.
  • A maximum of five hours on Saturdays for 13 to 14-year-olds or eight hours for 15 to 16-year-olds.

During school holidays, 13 to 14-year-olds are only allowed to work a maximum of  twenty-five hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of five hours on weekdays/Saturdays.
  • A maximum of two hours on Sundays.

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

  • A maximum of eight hours on weekdays/Saturdays.
  • A maximum of two hours on Sundays.

Full details are available on the government website.