Entry level jobs for school leavers – Here are 9 ideas to get you started

The big day has arrived – you’re about to leave school and leap into real life! Leaving school can be daunting when you have to say goodbye to friends, teachers and a familiar lifestyle. But getting out of your comfort zone is a huge opportunity to take your future into your own hands. 

There are loads of jobs available for school leavers, and we’ve selected nine of the best to inspire you. 

What are my options after leaving school?


It’s okay if you feel totally fed up with school. Exams and lessons aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so you might feel ready to enter the world of work. Whether you’ve planned out your whole career or have no idea what to do, you can get a job and comfortably earn some money. 


An internship arrangement means you’ll work for an employer for free over a set period of time. Internships usually last for one to twelve weeks. Although you won’t get paid, you’ll gain highly valuable knowledge, experience and connections that will help advance your career. An internship is a good option if you don’t have the right grades or experience yet to land your dream first job.


You can apply for university after completing your A Levels. It’s an opportunity to move away from home (if that’s what you want), meet new people and build some independence. Plenty of loans and bursaries are available from the government to help ease the financial burden of university. However, you’ll still graduate with student debt (plus your degree certification, of course!).


Enjoy studying but ready to earn some money? An apprenticeship is the way to go. Depending on your chosen field of study, an apprenticeship could last between one year for Level 2 and Level 3 programmes or as long as five years for a degree apprenticeship. That’s right – you could earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree without going to university or having the burden of student debt.

You’ll split your time between the workplace and a university or college, which enables you to earn while you learn. Get the best of both worlds: some cash in your pocket and extra knowledge to set you up for your dream job.

When should I apply for school leaver jobs?

The short answer? As soon as possible. Some application processes open at specific times of the year (for example, university applications are usually open between September and January). Also, some popular apprenticeship programmes will accept an intake of applications once or twice a year.

How do I decide what to do after school?

Where you go next is up to you. You don’t need to rush into a decision when you leave school – remember that you can change your mind and take a different path at any time. Before making a move, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I afford to pay for my lifestyle in the immediate future?
  • Will I learn to drive? If so, when can I get a car?
  • Does my dream career require an academic qualification or a degree?
  • What apprenticeship options are available for my chosen career?
  • Do I currently have the right qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience to pursue my chosen career path?
  • Are there any significant gaps in my knowledge, skills and experience? (For example, do you lack teamwork experience, or did you get a low grade in a key subject?)
  • What courses or work experience would help me fix gaps in my knowledge, skills and experience?
  • What are my personal and career goals for the next two years?

How much do school leavers get paid?

Your earning potential really depends on the type of job you choose. School leavers must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. If you do choose the apprenticeship route, your pay changes depending on how far along that journey you are.

However, the good news is that lots of employers offer very competitive salaries above and beyond minimum wage. In fact, the best paying apprenticeships in the UK offer starting wages up to 27k!

9 entry level jobs for school leavers

Spoilt for choice or don’t know where to start looking? These nine awesome roles will help inspire your first job.

Armed Forces


You can join the Army as young as 16, and you don’t need any prior qualifications. As a Junior Soldier, you begin training at AFC Harrogate, so relocation is necessary. By the time you turn 18, you’ll have a host of skills and expertise under your belt, and you can progress into the Regular Army.

Logistics in the Royal Navy

Don’t wanna be on the front line but still want to serve? You can become part of the Silent Service, aka. the Armed Forces professionals behind the scenes who are the glue of the operations. In the Royal Navy logistics department, you could work in a range of careers, including HR, writing and catering.

Intelligence in the RAF

You must be aged 17.5 to join the RAF as an Intelligence Officer or an Intelligence Analyst. Both roles come with heaps of responsibility – two intense training phases, overseas deployment, plus a potential starting salary of £31,000!

Creative industries

Hairdressing assistant/Salon assistant

Although you’ll need a qualification to pick up a pair of clippers, you can still find entry level jobs in the hairdressing industry. Most salons need an extra pair of hands for tasks like washing hair, blowdrying, cleaning up and answering the phone. It’s great experience, and you could continue working at the same salon during a hairdressing apprenticeship.  

Social media manager

As long as you are 16 or over, you can secure a job in marketing, like social media management, content creation or digital marketing. Although you don’t need any qualifications to hit the big time in the marketing industry, you could bolster your CV with an apprenticeship in marketing or a series of internships.  

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

Junior data analyst  

Digital apprenticeships and jobs are open to any age group, including school leavers. If you were a whizz at IT and computer science at school, you can secure a job like an entry-level data analyst that requires no prior experience.

Accounting assistant

You won’t qualify as a full accountant when you leave school, but you can still work in the accounts department. Plus, there are loads of companies that fund accountancy qualifications and finance degree apprenticeships. Securing an entry-level accounting job can be the stepping stone you need to move up the ranks.  

Trades and construction


Need some quick cash? Bricklayers are always in high demand, and you can get started on the job immediately. Of course, there are lots of techniques to learn, but it is a hands-on profession, and you will gain experience by working.  

Farming assistant

Okay, so a farmer isn’t exactly the same as a tradesperson. However, if you’re outdoorsy and like working with your hands, there’s no reason why you can’t start a farming career tomorrow! Similarly to some trade roles, you’ll learn on-site, and you don’t need any qualifications to get started – just a stellar CV and a great attitude.

The first step is always the hardest to take

Securing your first job after leaving school is no small feat, and you should be proud of yourself for taking the plunge. Remember, your first job doesn’t define the rest of your career – but it will have a big impact on your personal growth and professional development.

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