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21January

Getting Paid

Written by Matt Allman Posted in Financial Planning, Careers

Getting Paid

It’s good to have a rough idea of what money you can earn or are entitled to when looking for a job. Starting a course or apprenticeship can be expensive, transport in particular. It’s great to aim for the sky and it’s fine if you want to earn lots of money but you also need to be realistic about salaries and what to expect when looking for work or entering training.

How much you earn or are entitled to receive can often change depending on where you live in the country and what is happening there at that time. You probably know that currently the government in this country are trying to save money; you may see the effects of this as there may be less money to spend in your household on things like shopping, petrol or clothes.

Here is a rough guide to earnings for young people in work, or who are studying or training;

Full time work – The money you earn at work is referred to as a salary or wage: this could be paid daily, weekly or monthly. You may also earn extra money if you are selling something as you may get paid on commission, which is where you are paid for every sale that you make. 

Some young people tell me that they have applied for jobs which tell them they can ‘earn up to’ a certain amount of money which is often well above the national average wage. Make sure you find out all the details about these jobs as you may end up getting paid very little or nothing if you don’t meet targets set for you. 

I am told often by young people I work with that they want to earn around £20,000 a year for a job. This is unrealistic because the current minimum wage for a 16 or 17 year old in the UK who has left school is £3.68 per hour and goes up when you are 18. This will earn you around £7,000 pounds a year. 

Remember you may need to pay tax and national insurance out of your wages too. Your employer usually sorts this out but if you are self-employed, such as working for a family friend, it may be up to you!

Apprenticeships - Apprenticeships are where you work but also study, many young people think this means you have to go to college but this isn’t the case: your tutor often visits you in your workplace.  Currently the apprentice wage is £2.65 per hour minimum and this often puts young people off but you need to look through the apprenticeships in the area of work you are interested in as often they pay more than this and sometimes as much, or more than, full time work.

Training – If you attend a training course or college you may also be entitled to a bursary, each college or training centre now manages this themselves and the rates vary.  I have known the bursary to range from £10-£30 a week where I live depending on a range of things such as other money coming into your home or distance you have to travel, this money is meant to help with food, clothing and transport when you are in training.

Benefits – You may also be entitled to other money from the government often referred to as benefits.  I meet many young people who do not live with their parents or whose parents do not have much money. Sometimes this means you may be entitled to a benefit often called Job Seekers Allowance for under 18s, you will need to contact your local job centre to find out more about this. The money is paid to you to help you buy food and get to college if you are not living at home or if your household income is low.  If you are disabled, you or your parents/carer may also be entitled to other types of benefits to help you live and get around.

Also if you have been in care until you are 18 the council where you live may have to pay you a weekly allowance to help you live off and sometimes extra money if you go into further education. This varies across the country and you would need to seek advice from your local social services or leaving care team to find out more. 

The local council can also help care leavers with accommodation costs while you are under 18 and some pay money to help you go to University if you have been in care, this depends on your leaving care status and the amount varies across the country.

In some parts of the country there are charities that will help you if you need things like clothes for a job interview, if you are homeless or need food in an emergency. Always contact your local council or your adviser/social worker/youth worker if you have one to find out more, if you don’t then often towns have a one stop shop you can go in if you have no one else to ask. 

However much money you earn or have available to you, always keep track of what you spend! As difficult as it is, always try to save a little bit as this will really help you as you get older and want to do things like learn to drive or buy a car!

About the Author

Matt Allman

Matt Allman

Matt Allman is a Personal Adviser for TCHC. He has extensive experience working with young adults including young people leaving care, young people/children in care, young offenders, disabled young people, behaviour management, mental health, participation and children’s rights.

Matt has been praised by his peers for his ability to work with young people of all ages in all types of situations. He is dedicated, patient and  persistent while assisting young clients to achieve their goals.

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