Employment and volunteering (careers advice)

Although young people must be doing some form of recognised accredited education or training until their 18th birthday, this does not mean they have to go into education.

For those that would rather work (whether paid or voluntary), this is still an option, as long as it involves at least twenty hours of work per week PLUS working towards a nationally-recognised qualification.

There are a number of ways you can search for jobs, including looking on job search websites, in local and national newspapers and by using social media sites such as LinkedIn.

Employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people in the workplace. Some young people with SEND may be eligible for an Access to Work grant that can pay for specialist equipment and support in the workplace.


Some individuals opt to work for themselves by becoming self-employed. If you have a business idea that you think might work, this may be something you wish to consider.

It is important to be aware, however, that there are rules and regulations on running your own business and you need to register as being self-employed to make sure that you are paying the correct taxes.

If you are under the age of 18, then, alongside being self-employed for at least 20 hours or more per week, you will need to be studying towards an accredited qualification in order to meet your duty to participate.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to self-employment:


  • Job satisfaction
  • Independence
  • Ability to work flexibly in terms of location


  • Financial risk
  • Long hours
  • Lack of employee benefits

For more information on working for yourself, please visit GOV.UK's Working for yourself pages.

Enterprise Programme

If you are 18-30, living in the UK and unemployed, or working less than 16 hours per week, and have a business idea you would like to explore, the Prince's Trust offer an Enterprise Programme where they can help you turn your ideas in to reality.


Volunteering is an effective way of gaining work experience in preparation for future employment.

To find out what volunteering opportunities are available locally, why not contact your local borough volunteering centre:

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