Finding a job at 16 is a rite of passage for many teenagers, and it is important to find a role that fits around your education. Part-time evening and weekend jobs are often ideal for younger staff members, but there are also limitations to the kind of work that 16-year-olds can do. There are a variety of jobs available that are suitable for young people, including roles in retail, hospitality, and sports coaching. Popular options include supermarket assistants, retail sales associates, coffee shop assistants, waiting staff, hotel housekeepers, sports coaches, lifeguards, theatre attendants, babysitters, and car wash attendants. It is important to consider what kind of job suits your skills and interests, and to find a job that you will enjoy.
Here are some jobs to consider when trying to find work as a 16-year-old
1. Supermarket assistant
- National Average Salary: £9.19 per hour
- Primary Duties: Supermarket store assistants stack shelves, rotate stock and pick products for online orders placed for delivery or collection. Supermarkets tend to be teenager-friendly employers, and there are plenty of jobs within supermarkets that are ideal for younger workers.
2. Retail sales associate
- National Average Salary: £8.87 per hour
- Primary Duties: Retail sales associates serve customers and check stock in a retail store. In clothing stores, they also monitor the fitting rooms, return items to their correct place and help customers find the right size and style of clothing. Shops that offer a personal shopper service may need additional staff to check stock and fetch specific items for customers.
3. Coffee shop assistant
- National Average Salary: £8.93 per hour
- Primary Duties: A coffee shop assistant takes orders, makes drinks, performs basic food preparation and handles money. Cafes and coffee shops can be an ideal place for young people to work after school or at weekends. Some larger chains offer specialist training for their staff, which can be ideal for a young person who wants to develop skills that they will be able to use in future jobs.
4. Waiting staff
- National Average Salary: £19,930 per year
- Primary Duties: Waiting staff greet customers, wait tables and serve drinks in a restaurant. Depending on the size of the business, waiting staff may help with preparing food, plating up starters and desserts and washing up. Waiting is an ideal way for young people to gain experience of working in food service and can be an ideal entry-level job for anyone who wants a job in the restaurant industry.
5. Hotel housekeeper
- National Average Salary: £9.16 per hour
- Primary Duties: Hotel housekeepers are responsible for cleaning rooms, delivering meals and keeping the hotel’s grounds clean and safe. There are plenty of hotels that employ younger staff members on their housekeeping teams. Some of the jobs may be physically demanding, such as moving luggage or collecting laundry, and others may require more administrative skills, such as assisting on reception or processing room service orders and producing bills and invoices.
6. Sports coach
- National Average Salary: £29,358 per year
- Primary Duties: Sports coaches lead warm-ups, demonstrate sporting techniques and organise games to help their students master sporting skills. I f you are skilled in a particular sport such as climbing, martial arts or gymnastics, you may be able to find work assisting a coach during their classes, offering support to students and helping to check equipment. Some sporting clubs offer opportunities for young coaches to complete qualifications to become an umpire, judge or referee, which can open up further career opportunities.
- National Average Salary: £9.14 per hour
- Primary Duties: Lifeguards scan the pool for swimmers in trouble, oversee equipment such as slides and diving pools and enforce pool rules. If you complete the necessary training, you could work as a lifeguard or pool attendant, assist with swimming classes or parties or teach small groups in the pool.
8. Theatre attendant
- National Average Salary: £8.52 per hour
- Primary Duties: Theatre attendants keep public areas clean and tidy, help people find their seats and provide assistance during shows. They may also serve food and drinks in the interval and provide additional assistance to visitors with access or other special needs. From small regional theatres to nationwide cinema chains, if you are interested in the arts, then you could find your ideal job. Attendants get to watch shows for free and may get priority booking or discounts on tickets, so there can be a range of perks in addition to your wages.
- National Average Salary: £11.71 per hour
- Primary Duties: Babysitters who are good at entertaining and taking care of children will always be in demand. This is an ideal job for a young person and a great way to make use of any childcare experience you have. You can fit it around your studies and build up a customer base that may offer you regular work. You can set your own rates and you may choose to include a higher rate for multiple children or for times when the parents are going to be back particularly late. Look for potential clients among your friends’ parents and bear in mind that word of mouth is often the best way to find new families to work with.
10. Car wash attendant
- National Average Salary: £8.94 per hour
- Primary Duties: Car washers use appropriate cleaning materials to wash the exterior and tyres of cars, and some offer interior cleaning as well. If you have neighbours who might need some help keeping their car clean, you can offer your services when it suits you and turn car washing into a lucrative holiday job or weekend earning opportunity. This is a great job for 16-year-olds who want to earn a little extra money without committing to regular hours.
11. Dog walker
- National Average Salary: £9.19 per hour
- Primary Duties: Dog walkers spend time with other people’s pets, take them to parks and open spaces to play and ensure that they have enough exercise to keep them healthy. You can start small by offering your services to dog owners that you know and build up your business using word-of-mouth advertising. Dog walkers may also be able to pick up additional seasonal work when people need pet care while they are on holiday or working away, so you could find that it leads to pet- or house-sitting work in the future as well.
- National Average Salary: £22,003 per year
- Primary Duties: Gardeners work in outdoor spaces in residential and commercial properties. They perform regular maintenance, such as mowing lawns and removing weeds, as well as project work such as planting vegetable plots, pruning trees and bushes and rotavating soil. Gardening is ideal for 16-year-olds because a lot of the work is seasonal, so businesses are often keen to take on staff over the summer to capitalise on the pleasant weather. No qualifications are needed, and enthusiasm and ability to follow instructions are the most important qualities for applicants.
How much should 16-year-olds get paid?
There is a special category of National Minimum Wage that applies to 16-year-olds, who must be paid a minimum of £4.55 per hour in regular employment. An exception is made for those on apprentice schemes who must be paid £4.15 per hour or more. Some employers may offer more than this rate, but they cannot offer less.
Tips for 16-year-olds seeking work
If you are keen to find a job and begin your career, there are plenty of places that you can find work and learn valuable skills that could serve you well in your future jobs. Consider the following steps to improve your chances of finding work:
- Volunteer in your community. Joining a local volunteering group can be a great way to learn valuable people skills and gain experience of working within a team.
- Take relevant extracurricular activities at school. If you want to make a career out of a hobby that you love, take every opportunity you can to learn more and gain certification and qualifications.
- Join a youth group. You can learn leadership skills, gain valuable experience of working with others and develop confidence and critical thinking skills that are popular with employers.
- Participate in sporting clubs. Those in sporting clubs learn discipline and the ability to follow rules which are highly sought-after qualities that many employers look for when recruiting.
If you are pursuing a specific career, you may be able to find work that will help you gain experience that could improve your chances of succeeding in your chosen subject in the future.