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.

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 the work place. 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 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 work place 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.

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

At age 16 you will still need to stay in learning until you are 18. But this doesn’t mean you have to stay at school. If you are keen to start or stay working, you can:

  • Do an apprenticeship
  • Get a job with training
  • Work alongside full-time learning.

Most jobs and all apprenticeships are advertised online. Some jobs are advertised on the company’s own website, but others appear on listing sites like the National Apprenticeship Finder. Lots of people start looking for their job before they have finished their studies, which gives them plenty of time to find the best opportunities.

For anyone under the age of 16 who is working then there are certain rules and regulations, please click here for more information.

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 link below for tips for writing a CV and covering letter as well as interview advice produced the National Careers Service and Prospects.

What you can earn

The Current minimum wage 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

In some cases, the minimum wage does not apply.

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 £155+ a week.


Tax is usually taken out of your wages automatically once you earn a certain amount. For the tax year 2016-17, your basic Personal Allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free) is £11,000. If you earn below this amount you can claim tax back at the end of the tax year, so save your PAYE slips! Check out the GOV.UK site for more information on tax rates or visit HMRC’s local tax office web page.

Employment rights

As well as the rules above, the following regulations apply to young workers.

If you are 16-17 you are entitled to:

  • not work between 10pm-6am (with some exceptions)
  • 12 hours of rest between each working day, and 2 days of rest each working week
  • 1 hour of rest when working over 4 hours
  • 24 days’ annual paid holidays
  • time off for study or training, paid at the normal hourly rate
  • join the Armed Forces, as long as you get permission from your parents
  • work in a bar as part of an approved training scheme

If you are over 18:

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.

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:


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 find out more about workplace pensions.

My options

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.

Apprenticeships must last for a minimum of 12 months and are open to anyone aged 16 and over who is not in full-time education. Applying for an apprenticeship is different to applying for a college course, as you will either need to find an advertised vacancy, or search for an employer and training provider yourself.

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.

For more information on apprenticeships click here.

thumbnail of Student information

Please click image to enlarge

You may prefer to find full time employment (but this will need to be for more than 20 hours a week to be counted as full time) and this may include training.

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

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 here.

Finding a job

There are lots of ways to get work; through friends or family, through finding jobs listed online, or through employment agencies. If you are aged 18+, then you can also register with your local Job Centre Plus where an adviser will help you find opportunities and apply for any benefits you may be entitled to.

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 here from HSE (Health & Safety Executive)

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.

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

View the Vacancy Bulletin
Job Vacancy Directory

List an opportunity on Young Work Wiltshire

All jobs, learning, training, personal development, volunteering and re-engagement activities for young people aged 13-19 (up to 24 with learning difficulties and disabilities) can be listed on Young Work Wiltshire. You can:

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

Do you have a few hours to spare? Are you looking to get more involved with your local community? Do you like interacting with people and want to make a difference?

If so, then volunteer work could be your perfect solution, as it provides you with a way to learn new skills, meet new people and give something back to your local community. Places to consider may include:

  • Volunteer centres
  • Councils
  • Parks, cafes and pubs
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • Job centres
  • Schools and nurseries
  • Health centres
  • Housing associations
  • Garages
  • Women’s Institute
  • Radio stations
  • Charities

To become a volunteer why not check out Community First or if you would like some additional information, then try out the web links below:

Find Volunteer Placements
National Trust
Volunteering Matters
Volunteer Now
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
Get Involved in Volunteering
Volunteer Centre Swindon
Wiltshire Citizens Advice

Local employment informationNational Careers Service logo

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

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.

Find out more about local employment information

Update us on what you’re doing

Why not update us on your details of what you are doing after you finish year 11. Completing the form below helps us to support you better. We will be able to help you find and stay in the best learning destination. Not only that, we can also support you with finding your first job or apprenticeship!

Are you not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET)? Sign up today and receive additional support, information and exciting new opportunity updates!

Step 1 of 5

  • Only young people aged 16-19 (up to 25 if there are learning difficulties or disabilities) should update their data using this form.
  • Please include the best email address to contact you on