If you have a teenager, you may be facing a summer where they disappear into their room with an electronic device, only emerging for meals.  Or they’re champing at the bit to be taxied about to friends, sports activities and more.

Worse still, activities they want to do inevitably cost money.  So the budget is going to be stretched to keep up as they get older and want to pursue more expensive activities.

Your youngster may have done a paper round or worked in a local shop on a Saturday, but have they considered a summer job?

From your point of view it will teach them responsibility, get them out of the house and, hopefully, take the strain off the budget a bit.

From their perspective it will make them feel more grown-up, give them money in their pocket and look good on their CV in the future.

Children can work part-time once they are 13, although there’s no minimum wage until they’re 16 (and no National Insurance either).

During school holidays:

  • 13-14 year olds can work a maximum of 25 hours a week, no more than 5 hours per day (2 hours on Sundays)
  • 15-16 year olds can work up to 35 hours a week, a maximum of 8 hours a day (2 hours on Sunday).

What kind of work can they do?

The popular choices tend to be shops, cafes and restaurants (NOT pubs).  But there are all kinds of other work they can do, including helping out at recreation centres, gyms and sports grounds.  The local council will have a list of permitted employment for children under the minimum school leaving age.

How to impress potential employers

The first step is to be smartly (and appropriately) dressed for their first interview.  To be polite and to show enthusiasm, no matter how lowly the job might be.  Help them to understand that a ‘not bothered’ attitude will mean someone else is likely to be chosen.

Once they land their first job, they need to get to work every day a few minutes early, not just on the dot of starting time, dressed in suitable clothes (the proper uniform if they have been given one, not a close approximation!) and willing to get stuck in.

A can-do approach will often get them more interesting work and they’ll do far better in customer facing situations if they actively try to help, rather than wait for the customer to ask.

If your youngster is naturally outgoing, a customer facing role may suit them.  If they’re more introverted, they may prefer something that allows them to get on with the work required on their own, or with a colleague.

At the end of their work experience, their employer should be happy to provide a reference for them in future, which is not only useful for their future career, but also on their university application.  Having held down a job helps the university to see that they act responsibly and have the maturity to work independently.