Next Steps

Are you thinking about finding your first job?

This section is full of information on becoming work ready, what opportunities you could consider and links to local vacancies.

Am I work ready

So you are thinking of getting a job, but are you work ready? It can be confusing finding a job, especially from the change of environment from education to the workplace. Some people will be able to find a job quickly and for some it can take a while, jobs are often only advertised for a short time and close quickly; and it takes an average of ten weeks to find a job, so make sure your CV is good and that you are work ready.

Being work ready

Often employers will say they are looking for young people who are work ready, but what do you need to be work ready:
  • Be positive and willing to work – this includes turning up on time, making an effort, completing tasks within deadlines and being interested in and enthusiastic about the job (these are also known as soft skills).
  • Be able to get along with colleagues – you need to show that you can work well with other people, and be polite, helpful and considerate.
  • Have basic skills – for almost any work area you will need at least basic English, Maths and ICT skills.
  • Gain qualifications or have evidence of learning – employers need people who continue to build their skills by actively seeking to learn new things.
  • Having work experience – Work experience, as well as volunteering, can give you valuable insight into the workplace environment and working with others without the pressure of full employment.
By having these skills and experiences you will enhance your chances of being employed, and when applying and interviewing it is often worth having examples of these skills, to give employers to show you are work ready.

Get work ready online

With the growth of the Internet and social media, your presence online can sometimes affect your job opportunities. Most applications can now be completed online, and employers can sometimes do a quick check of your online presence to see if you are the type of person that is acceptable or matches their values. In some cases more in-depth checks can take place; as such it is important for your future that you look good online and the best time to do this is before you start applying for opportunities. Here are five top tips complied by Oxfordshire County Council for getting work ready online:
  • Get a sensible email address for job applications. Use it and check it regularly. Set up forwarding from old addresses you no longer want to use.
  • Check privacy settings on all sites used (not just Facebook). Make sure private content is not visible and that public content (like your profile picture and cover image) look tidy and professional.
  • Take down bad content, like old videos, text, posts or pictures which show you in a bad or silly light. You can also add new, professional content.
  • Tidy up friends lists. Defriend people you don’t know, people who don’t like you, and any risky contacts.
  • Join some professional networks. LinkedIn is the most famous but check for others including networks and mailing lists in your chosen job areas.
The Internet can help you get work, find your learning destination and pursue your interests; and your own content online can also support this – as long as it looks good.

Why I should

Whether it is a full-time role or a part time 'Sunday' job, getting a job can offer you so much. Here are some benefits from getting employed
  • Earn money - you can start becoming financially independent and have some extra cash
  • Starting your CV - the skills and experiences you learn from your first job can enhance your ability to find more opportunities in the future and can be evidenced on your CV
  • Develop your soft skills - these are skills you need to be able to demonstrate and are sought after by employers, they are skills based upon how you act and are transferable from one job to another.
An infograph showing the top ten soft skills

Employers value young people

Young people may feel that a lack of experience or confidence is a problem for them, but most employers understand and value the benefits young people bring to the workplace. These include:
  • fresh perspectives and new ideas
  • energy, spark and enthusiasm
  • fewer obligations and greater availability

Application tips

Are you applying for a job? If so, you will usually be asked to supply a CV (curriculum vitae) and covering letter, which will show how you are qualified for the job and why you would be the ideal candidate for the role. If the employer believes you meet the criteria for the job you may be invited to interview. Follow the links below for tips for writing a CV and covering letter as well as interview advice:

Minimum wage, taxes and your rights

What you can earn

You must be at least of school leaving age to get the minimum wage and the current rates are as follows:
  • £7.83 for workers aged 25 and over
  • £7.38 for workers aged 21-24
  • £5.90 for workers aged 18-20
  • £4.20 for under 18s
  • £3.70 for Apprentices
For more information on the rates and who is entitled to them go to the website: who gets the minimum wage.

National Insurance (NI)

Just before you turn 16 you will receive your NI number. You pay National Insurance contributions when you work, to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the State Pension. How much you pay depends on how much you earn but it is normally taken from your wages once you earn £183+ a week. For more information on national insurance including how to find a lost number go to the website.


Tax is usually taken out of your wages automatically by your employer through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) if you earn more than £1,042 a month on average, this is your personal allowance. It is important to save your payslips as you may be able to reclaim tax if you have paid too much. For more information on income tax including the different tax codes and how to reclaim tax go to the website.


A pension provides an income after you retire. Most workplaces offer pension schemes, where the employer, the employee and the government all contribute money. Very young employees and those not yet earning much money may not be automatically registered into pension schemes. But you can usually choose to join your pension scheme. Talk to your employer or go to the website to find out more about workplace pensions.

Employment rights

If you are over 18 then adult employment rights will apply, visit the website for more information on employment contracts and conditions. Visit the Acas website for more information.

If you are an apprentice you are entitled to:

  • A written contract of employment
  • A full induction in the workplace
  • A negotiated training plan or contract between yourself, the employer, and the training provider
  • At least the apprenticeship rate minimum wage of £3.40 (with effect from 1 October 2016) an hour
  • A safe working environment and protection from discrimination or bullying
  • Release from work to attend formal training
  • Provision of an appropriate range of work experiences to enable you to complete your qualifications
  • Access to support, guidance and mentoring
  • Quality training
  • Regular assessments and review of progress
  • Sufficient time away from work station or desk to study in work time
For more information on apprenticeship pay and conditions go to the website.

If you are pregnant:

  • you don’t have to leave your job
  • you can return to work 2 weeks after the baby is born (4 weeks if you work in a factory)
  • you may be entitled Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance
  • you can take maternity leave of up to 52 weeks.

If your partner is pregnant you may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) or Statutory Shared Parental Pag (ShPP)

For more information on pregnant employee’s rights including statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance and shared parental leave and pay go to the website.

My options

Look at the below tabs to see why you need to make a decision


If you have a career sector or path in mind and want to start earning money as you learn, an apprenticeship could be for you. You’ll do a real job for a real employer; training on the job and working towards an industry-standard qualification. An apprenticeship combines hands-on work with the opportunity to train and obtain qualifications.  Apprenticeships, which must last for a minimum of 12 months are open to anyone aged 16 and over who is not in full-time education, there is no upper aged limit! As an apprentice you’ll be employed and will study for a qualification with the full support and commitment of your employer, at least 20% of your working hours are set aside for learning, often at a college, university or training provider, however there are lots of ways to undertake learning depending on your organisation and job role. Visit the Work Wiltshire Apprenticeship page for more information. Additional information on Apprenticeships can be found on the UCAS website and the Amazing Apprenticeships websites People are encouraged to find and apply for apprentices using the Find and Apprenticeship Service


Finding a job

There are lots of ways to get work; through friends or family, through finding jobs listed online, or through employment agencies. Our top tips for looking for a job are:
  1. Tell everyone you know you are looking for a job. Lots of young people find work from someone they know, or a place where they have done work experience or volunteered
  2. Use Social Media sites such as Linkedin and Twitter to look for suitable opportunities with employers you are keen to work for
  3. Do lots of research by looking at employers’ websites as many have their own vacancy listings and some offer the facility to register with them to get job updates. (It can be helpful to bookmark your favourite job sites and searches, to save time when looking for jobs.)
  4. Sign up to get our vacancy listings directly and view the directory of local vacancies below
  5. Wiltshire has some excellent public transport links so broaden your job search to Bath, Bristol, Swindon etc
  6. Stay safe while job-seeking, always talk about what you are doing with a trusted adult and ensure the opportunity is genuine (visit the website or call them). Be wary of scammers who may ask for an upfront fee or payment such as when applying to be a model or actor, for more information see Action Fraud's website
  7. Be aware of responsibilities around health, safety and welfare whilst you are at work, there is guidance from HSE (Health & Safety Executive) website.
There are also some websites below that can help with finding work:

Start my own business?

If you dream of setting up your own business then then check out our tips and links starting your own business.

Work Experience

Whether you’re on year ten work experience or you’ve arranged a placement independently, our top tips will help you to make a good impression. Placements are a great way to find out about different types of jobs and to identify your own preferences. They may help you to find your ideal career, or simply to decide what’s not for you. Whatever the case, there are a number of ways to ensure that you get the most you can from the experience. Find out more on our Work Experience page.

Support for finding Employment

Kick Start

The Kick Start Scheme is a 6 month paid job with a local employer, funded by the Government. It provides a fully funded opportunity for you to get experience of working.

Jobs from the Kickstart Scheme will be open to people 16-24 years old, who are claiming Universal Credit, and are at risk of long term unemployment. If you have a work coach they will talk to you about the Kickstart Scheme and whether it’s right for you.

Information about local Kickstart scheme will be coming soon.

Sign up to our Hot Opportunities mailing service for a monthly bulletin of opportunities in Wiltshire

This email bulletin is sent out to young job seekers monthly, and contains information about opportunities, job clubs and more, including links to job-seeking advice online.

EET Hot Opportunities

Also why not check out our weekly Vacancy Bulletin in the links below or browse our Job Vacancy Directory

View the Vacancy Bulletin
Job Vacancy Directory

What employers want

Are you unsure about what you have to offer and what employers are looking for? Then check out the links below which give information about what employers want, qualifications and much more.

What Employers Want produced by the Learning and Work Institute provides information, advice and activities to support young people to get a job and progress at work, all material is based on feedback from employers about what they look for when recruiting a young person.

Link to What Employers Want

Work and Study by The Mix provides information about qualifications, university, work and careers for 16-25 year olds.

Link to Work and Study

Local employment information

Do you know what businesses there are in Wiltshire or even what industry sectors?thumbnail of Wiltshire LMI

Follow the link below to see Wiltshire Council's Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) documents which explain what key industry sectors there are in the Wiltshire area and what qualifications are preferable to work in that industry. They also provide information on relevant apprenticeships, how employers recruit, example positions and salaries, future growth of the sector, Wiltshire employers and where you can study.

The aim of these documents is to give you an understanding of the key priority and growth sectors within the county, to help you make the best decision about your future career.

You will also be able to find out what other job sectors you could work in and the career pathways for these.

Click here for more Local Employer Information