What you need to know about working in your teens
Young people need to learn practical skills that can help them in the future
Starting work as a teenager can be a little daunting, but the benefit of job experience (and extra spending money) will actually set you up for success in the future, says Barrie Swart, head of Gumtree Jobs.
“Even if you don't have a lot of experience, there are plenty of options out there for you. A part-time job can boost your confidence, provide a sense of responsibility and give you about insight into the career path that you might like to take. Do you like working with people? In a team? Do you like organising? Are you a delegator? You won't really know until you start working.”
Under The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of SA, you can start working at the ages of 15 to 18 provided that the work is appropriate for your age and not deemed detrimental to your schooling or mental health, or places you at risk.
For example, you may not serve alcohol or drive a car under the age of 18, nor will you be allowed to handle dangerous materials or work in a high-risk environment. The only exception is the performing arts, which does not have limitations on age but does require a valid permit from the department of labour.
About of the most popular jobs for teenagers include:
- Flyer distribution and promotions
- Fast food or restaurant work
- Retail assistant
- Golf caddying
The minimum wage is R20 an hour and you should not accept a job that pays less than that. The nature of the job will usually dictate how much you can earn. A dog walker, for example, can easily earn R60 an hour, whereas a golf caddie might earn R200 to tag along with a group of golfers for the duration of the game (which could be about four hours). A tutor can demand R200 an hour, depending on the subject, whereas a house-sitter might demand R250 to R500 a day.
“Visit Gumtree.co.za and compare the costs with similar services in your neighbourhood to figure out what you can charge. Make sure that the amount you earn will cover your taxi or Uber fare, telephone costs and other incidentals like lunch money or supplies you may need to buy to make it worth your while,” says Swart.
“Ask your parents for referrals and be extremely careful when dealing with customers you don't know. It's a good idea to get a parent's help during your job search.”
Don't get discouraged if you don't find a job right away. “If you need more experience, try volunteering at a non-governmental organisation in your area. There usually is a variety of roles you could work in, ranging from cleaning to administration, but anything that you can add to your CV will help you in the long run.”
According to Swart, the most important tip to remember is not to neglect your schooling in favour of your part-time job. “As a high school student, your job is to study and work hard in school. If your part-time job interferes with your exams or schooling, you need to give it up. You will be working your entire adult life, so don't be in a rush.”
Part-time and weekend jobs can be viewed on Gumtree.co.za.
This article was paid for by Gumtree SA