Finding a job
Everybody should be encouraged to aspire to have an independent adult life which includes having the opportunity to take part in the world of work through paid employment.
For everyone, the journey to paid employment is in small steps, usually starting with doing jobs around the home for parents or carers; washing the car, gardening and housework tasks like cleaning or helping with the laundry.
Learning to do these jobs around the home is a first step in developing skills such as
- Following instructions
- Attention to detail
- Working as part of a team
Helping at home is therefore a really good starting point for developing your skills, your confidence and preparing yourself for work experience.
You might need help from a careers or guidance adviser to help you start thinking about your interests and the skills you have to offer to an employer. The adviser will also be able to tell you about the jobs that are available in the area where you live and help you to make decisions about what jobs might suit you best.
When you have started to think about the world of work and the types of jobs that interest you, it will be helpful to talk to someone who is an expert in the types of jobs that are available in your local area and who can support you in thinking about what might suit your interests and skills best.
Schools are responsible for securing independent careers guidance for you if you are in years 8-13 and they should provide you with careers information and advice on the full range of post-16 education and training options, including Apprenticeships.
Colleges sometimes offer vocational courses for 14-16 year olds, in partnership with schools as well as a wide range of post-16 courses such as Supported Internships, Study Programmes, Traineeships and Apprenticeships. All of these courses are designed to help prepare you for the world of work, through the development of experience and skills in a particular vocational area, for example horticulture, retail or hospitality and catering.
Just like schools, colleges are also required to provide access to independent and impartial careers guidance for you until you are age 18, and until you are age 25 if you have an Education Health Care (EHC) Plan.
Help You Choose – This is the information, advice and careers guidance website for young people in Norfolk; use it to search for courses and jobs.
National Careers Service – Website and apps full of career tools, information and advice to help you find out about different jobs, CVs, applications, covering letters and interviews. Advice online, over the phone, face-to-face.
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) – LEPs are locally-owned partnerships between local authorities and business. Take a look at the New Anglia LEP page for more information about the important skills and sectors in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Realise Futures Careers Advice – Delivering careers advice for you if you are over 18 and have left full time education on behalf of the National Careers Service in Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Luton and Herefordshire.
Jobs and careers and Norfolk County Council and in Norfolk Schools – Find out more about working for Norfolk County Council.
Friends and family – may know of vacancies where they work.
School – is there a job board displaying vacancies from local employers?
Help You Choose – click on Apprenticeships, Jobs & Training.
Jobs24 – for apprenticeships in Norfolk at www.jobs24.co.uk
Companies – contact companies and employers to see if they have any job vacancies. This is called a ‘speculative application’. There is more information on the Help You Choose website.
Online – many companies and training providers put vacancies on their website and ask you to apply online. They may also use social media (Facebook, Twitter and Linked In) to publicise them.
Universal Jobmatch – search and apply for full and part-time job vacancies in Great Britain and abroad at www.gov.uk/jobsearch
Newspapers – look at the job pages in local newspapers (eg the EDP on a Thursday), specialist magazines and journals.
Private employment agencies – you can find details at www.yell.com or through an internet search.
You can contact companies or training providers at any time.
It is good to start looking for jobs and apprenticeships as soon as you can. Some large local and national companies open up their apprenticeship schemes for school leavers before Christmas.
It can take time to get a job or apprenticeship and so make sure you start looking in plenty of time. If you are leaving school or college in the summer, it is a good idea to start looking from January.
It is a good idea to print out details of all job adverts that you want to apply for. If you are applying for lots of jobs, it is easy to forget where you found them.
Make sure you follow the instructions on each job advert telling you how to apply. This will show the employer that you can follow instruction.
To apply for jobs and apprenticeships on Help You Choose, you will first need to register for Jobmatching in My Account. One you have registered, go into My Jobsearch to select what job sectors you are interested in and where. You will then receive an email of any apprenticeship or jobs matching your criteria that you may wish to apply for.
Top tip - always remember to keep a copy of each job advert you apply to and your letters of application, CV and application forms so that if you are invited to an interview, you can look back at what the job was and remember what you said.
Applying by letter or email – the covering letter
You might be asked for a covering letter to go with a form or CV. Writing the right letter or email may help you to get an interview.
Applying by application form
Many companies now ask you to fill in an application form rather than send a CV, it makes it easier for them to compare you with other applicants.
It is important that you fill in the application form carefully as it is your chance to sell yourself and get an interview.
Applying by CV
A CV is simply one or two nicely set out pages of A4 size paper, which tells an employer about you and your skills.
The best CVs are easy to read and so keep it simple.
If a company is impressed by your application form, CV or letter, they will ask you to come to an interview.
The interview is the final stage of the process and it is really important that you shine.
It is a good idea to spend some time thinking about what questions you may be asked and how you will answer them before your interview. Make some notes to take them with you in case you get nervous and go blank!
You will usually get a phone call from the employer to tell you whether or not they will be offering you the job.
If you are offered the job – well done! The employer will keep in touch with you to talk to you about arranging your start date and to ask you for information that is needed to set you up as an employee.
If you are not successful, always ask for feedback, as this will help you to improve next time.
When thinking about getting a job it is also important to think about where you could get to for work and how much it is going to cost.
If you live in an area with good transport networks, then public transport is likely to be an option to think about. But if you live in rural Norfolk, your options may be more limited and you may have less choices. Look at bus timetables and use Traveline to help you to plan your route.
If you have a personal budget, you may be able to use some of this to help you with the cost of travelling to work or getting support to help you to travel independently.
If you need help to travel independently, you may be able to get support with this from the TITAN Buddy Programme.
Before you start working, you will need to open a bank account. Your employer will ask you for your bank name, sort code and account number before you start work so that they can pay your wages into your bank account.
There a lots of different types of bank accounts to choose from and so you might find it helpful to read more about banks on the Scope website.
You will then need to think about which bank you want to open your bank account with. This could be a bank that has a branch near to where you live. If there is not a bank close to where you live, you can still access banking services online or by telephone.
Saturday and holiday jobs are a great way to start to learn about the world of work, the jobs you like, the jobs you don’t like as much and the reasons why. This first taste of work will also help you to understand that the skills you are learning at school are useful for work.
However it is important to understand that no child under the age of 13 is allowed to be employed and the law limits the hours and types of work that a child aged 13+ is allowed to do.
If you are under statutory school age and want to work, you must have a work permit and you must not work during school hours. (You are no longer of statutory school age after the last Friday in June of the school year in which you turn 16.)
Find out more about Child employment.
Volunteering is a great way of developing your work skills and work experience whilst having fun, developing new interests and meeting new people. It makes you feel good, makes the most of your talents, helps you learn new skills, builds confidence, looks good on your CV and application forms and can lead to new friendships too.
Volunteering is for everyone - having a physical or learning difficulty should not stop you from volunteering.
Voluntary Norfolk - Voluntary Norfolk will help you to find volunteering opportunities that match your interests, whatever they are.
Talent Match – For young people aged 18-24 who live in Norwich and have been out of work for over 12 months. Talent Match is a free service for motivated young people which is voluntary to attend. You will receive support on a one-to-one basis to help you to achieve your goals and move into work.
Volunteering Matters - Volunteering Matters has launched their Futures Project in Norfolk. It aims to increase the confidence and raise the aspirations of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by offering them the opportunity to try new activities and develop new networks, with the support of a volunteer mentor.
Jobcentre Plus - The ‘Work Together’ programme run by Jobcentre Plus can help you if you are unemployed and looking for work. ‘Work Together’ is a volunteering programme designed to help you get back into work. You can volunteer with a local organisation which can help you work temporarily and gain the experience and skills you need.
Norfolk Industries for Disabled People – Offers voluntary work experience placements to disadvantaged people within the community. Based in Oak Street, Norwich the company manufactures a number of pet bedding products in a factory environment for national and international customers. Find out more by downloading their leaflet.
You might also be given the opportunity to do work experience in and around your school. Many schools ask pupils to do work experience in and around school as a first step towards the world of work, giving you the opportunity to try out new experiences and new responsibilities.
Some examples could include:
- Student reception
- Delivering snacks and drinks to different classrooms
- Taking orders for milk
Or you may have work experience through an arrangement with an employer.
Most schools will allow you to go out of school on work experience for 1 or 2 weeks in Year 10. You will usually be expected to organise your own work experience during a certain timeframe as agreed with your school. Sometimes you may be allowed to go on work experience at different times, so it is best to ask your school how they manage work experience.
Although you are probably going to be expected to find your own work experience placement, if you have a special educational needs and disability (SEND), work experience may be arranged for you by your school or college.
Google/Bing - You can find lots of different companies and organisations who offer work experience by searching Google or Bing.
Networks – You may find a work experience placement through friends of the family, or friends of friends who work in different employment sectors.
If you have left school and want work experience to help you build up your skills and experience or as a way into an area of work that interests you, you could get in touch with the Prince’s Trust.
Prince’s Trust – The Get into programme is for you if you are 16 to 25 and need experience to move into a job. ‘Get into’ is completely free and won’t affect your Jobseeker’s Allowance. Your travel costs are covered and you may be able to support with lunch and childcare costs during the course.
Jobcentre Plus - If you are aged 16–24 and receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can get a work experience opportunity through Jobcentre Plus. Work experience placements usually last between 2 and 8 weeks and it is expected that you will work between 25 to 30 hours a week.