The summer break is a pretty long one, abruptly changing your schedule from Monday to Friday to nothing for over a month. And as lovely as putting your feet up is, often you’ll still find yourself twiddling your thumbs and itching for something to do. At Springpod, we’ve put our thinking caps on and come up with some ideas for how to make the most of your summer, a great period of time to get more experience and knowledge under your belt.
Find a part or full-time summer job
Getting a job will help you:
- Earn some money
- Develop skills such as communication and team-working
- Structure your time over the summer.
There are strict laws concerning the employment of young people. Young people can only work full-time once they have reached the legal minimum school leaving age. 13-14 year olds can only work a maximum of 25 hours a week during school holidays, comprising:
- A maximum of 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
- A maximum of 2 hours on Sundays.
15-16 year olds can only work a maximum of 35 hours a week comprising:
- A maximum of 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
- A maximum of 2 hours a week on Sundays.
Local by-laws list jobs that children are not allowed to do and may have other restrictions on working hours, conditions of work and type of employment. If you’re of compulsory school age then you will need a permit issued by the council where you’re employed. There are lots of limitations on where children are not allowed to work and what they are allowed to do. Detailed government guidance on the employment of children can be found here.
Here are some ideas of summer jobs for students at school:
- Retail – you could consider a small independent shop or a larger retailer. Shops often employ their Saturday staff for summer work.
- Office work – you could consider registering with temp agencies in your area or online. summer jobs might include stuffing envelopes, reception, data entry, photocopying, filing and general office duties. The work might get repetitive, but the pay can be reasonable and you’ll get good experience. You’ll need bags of common sense and a friendly ‘can do’ attitude.
- Newspaper delivery
- Light cleaning
- Working in hospitality
- Farm, practical work
If you can’t find a job with a local employer, then why not consider one of the following:
- Dog walking or cat sitting
- Washing cars
- Doing online surveys or market research – a minimum age of 16 often applies
- Selling your own pictures or crafts online via a website such as Etsy.
- Gardening – families often want help with weeding or clearing leaves
- Tutoring – do you excel in a subject such as Maths or English? If so, you may be able to work as a tutor for younger children.
You’ll need to think about how you’ll let people know you are available for this kind of work. You might make some cards to put through people’s doors or use local Facebook sites. Word of mouth is another good way of informing people that you are available for work.
Ways of finding work
- Dropping off in person or sending your CV to local employers, with a covering letter, hand-written if your handwriting is legible!
- Phoning employers, asking to speak to the person who deals with recruitment.
- Using recruitment agencies, most of which are now online.
- Asking around – neighbours, family, friends, anyone you know. This can be one of the best ways of finding a summer job as many jobs are not advertised.
If you are responsible, organised and love children, then babysitting can be a perfect part-time job, during the summer – or any time at all!
And it’s not just for girls as Ted, who babysat from the age of 15, explains:
“Boys can consider babysitting just as much as girls. If you’re reliable and sensible and love kids then why not give it a try? I found it to be a great experience and it provided a useful income when I was at school. I also found that parents were perfectly happy to have a boy as a babysitter.”
There are no laws about minimum ages for babysitting, However, RoSPA and the NSPCC both recommend that no-one under the age of 16 should be left to look after a baby or toddler. 14 is a sensible minimum age to start babysitting older children.
Look out for short courses in babysitting in your area, as these will give your confidence a boost. Parents will like the fact that you are taking the job seriously and have done a relevant course. You might be lucky and find a holiday course taking place over the summer in your area.
The Red Cross offers a one day course ‘First Aid for Baby and Child’ and costs between £45 and £60 depending on the location. This would be a great thing for any aspiring babysitter to do. You’ll need to be 16+ for this course.
Teen Angels Babysitters offers an online ‘Skills in Babysitting Course’ that costs £50. It covers an introduction to babysitting, play skills, CV writing, safety, first aid and care of a baby. They also offer courses to schools and youth groups.
Work on your CV
The summer is the ideal time to work on your CV. You’ll need it if you are applying for jobs or voluntary work.
These sites will help you write a CV that stands out:
You may have already done work experience at school, but the summer holidays are the perfect time to try something new and gain even more experience of the world of work. And it’s another thing to add to the CV! Emily arranged her own work experience when her exams finished at the end of year 12 through a contact she made while babysitting. She says:
“I knew I wanted to work in a business but I didn’t know which sector. One week in a restaurant PR and marketing agency gave me an insight into the industry and inspired me to continue getting experience in this field.”
Send off your CV with a covering letter to suitable employers. If they can’t offer you a week or two, then the employer might be able to offer you a couple of days of work shadowing, where you overlook someone doing their job.
Using your own contacts can also be a good way of finding work experience.
Always make sure that the employer has the necessary insurance in place to take school or college students for work experience.
Doing an online course is a great thing to do over the summer. We recommend some of the free online courses the Open University Offers, called Open Learn.
They offer over 900 courses from health, sport and psychology to science, maths and technology – and some of them lead to OU badges.
You can learn something for fun, or study something that you might want to do at university. Courses are also available that will help improve your employability, such as communication, making decisions and digital literacy.
Voluntary work is a great way of spending some of your summer holiday and can often be organised at short notice.
After finishing her A-levels, Julia noticed a sign in a local Save the Children’s charity shop, asking for volunteers. She explains what happened next:
“I dropped into the shop and spoke to the manager. The voluntary work sounded interesting and the manager offered me the job. I started practically straight away, working once or twice a week, for a few hours at a time, for one month in total. I’d never worked in a shop before, and so they trained me to work on the till. I also sorted clothes, steam-cleaning them before displaying them in the shop and window. I loved the work and it gave me great experience. When I got back from my gap year abroad I was able to get a paid job in a children’s clothing shop at Westfield shopping centre.”
Ways of finding voluntary work
Find out if there is a volunteer centre in your area; they will have details of local organisations looking for volunteers and can be a good place to start. Secondly, look at some national websites who showcase volunteering opportunities for young people:
- National Citizen’s Service – this is a summer scheme lasting 3-4 weeks for 15-17 year olds (those who are finishing year 11/12). The cost is £50 and for that you get an exciting programme of activities and the opportunity to live away from home, with food and accommodation included. There are still some places left for summer 2018.
- Vinspired – volunteering for 14-25 year olds
- Volunteering matters
There are lots of summer schools and courses on offer, although you normally need to apply well in advance.
Google “summer schools” and you will find lots of universities offering summer schools in a range of subjects, often as tasters for future university courses. Applications for 2018 are mostly closed now, but you may be able to find some for this year – or just be super prepared for 2019.
One not to miss for 2019 is Sutton Trust UK Summer Schools; summer schools in 11 leading universities in over 40 subjects from anthropology to zoology. Applications open from January 2019.
Some further education or adult education colleges have summer schools and short courses. Google “adult education summer courses” for your area and see what you can find.
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When summer comes, we do think that you deserve some lazy days when all you do is binge-watch Netflix and eat cheese toasties. But we also think that summer is a good opportunity for you to learn more skills, meet new people and continue to build your CV in preparation for the future.