Welcome to Access Southampton

Access Southampton – Employability Hub

Within this section:

  • Advice and guidance
  • Get help looking for work
  • Useful links
  • Templates and guides

Jump to the relevant section:

National Minimum Wage ratesApplication FormsCareers AdviceTraining & Education
Setting up a bank accountInterview PreparationApprenticeshipsUniversity
Getting onlineAttending Job InterviewsBodyswaps Virtual RealityUseful Links
CVsVideo InterviewsT LevelsSpecific Career Sectors
Job SearchingCommon Interview QuestionsVolunteeringFAQs

Get help looking for work or training

Call us on 023 8091 7585

Email employment.support.team@southampton.gov.uk

Visit access-southampton.co.uk/help-finding-work

Southampton Career Path Stories

Southampton residents share their career journeys and advice for anyone at the start of their career

National Minimum Wage Rates (2023/24)

The hourly minimum wage rate changes every April. You must be at least:

  • school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage
  • aged 23 to get the National Living Wage – the minimum wage will still apply for workers aged 22 and under
23 and over21-2218-20Under 18Apprentice
From April 2023£10.42£10.18£7.49£5.28£5.28

Use the government’s minimum wage calculator to check whether the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage is being paid.

Find out what to do if you’re not getting the National Minimum Wage and think you should be.

Check your pay – National Living and Minimum Wage

Setting up a Bank Account

It’s a good idea to have a bank account set up so employers can pay your wages. A fee-free basic bank account will allow you to pay and receive money without any costs. Find out more about setting up a free bank account: Money Advice Service – Fee Free Basic Bank Accounts

Opening a bank account? (southampton.gov.uk)

No fixed address bank accounts

HSBC are working with UK charities to allow people without a fixed address to set up a bank account. To access this service, you must be experiencing housing or homelessness difficulties and be receiving support from one of HSBC’s charity partners (in Southampton this is Two Saints or Society of St James).

Find out more: HSBC No Fixed Address Service

Get Connected

Make sure you have a working phone number and email address when looking for work. You can access Wi-Fi and computers at your local library

Setting up an email address

Most employers will contact you by email, so it’s important you have one and check it regularly. You can also email your CV to yourself so you can access it on any computer you use to job search – this means you won’t need to worry about keeping hold of a memory stick or USB. Common free email providers include:

When creating an email address, make sure you use a professional email address – don’t use silly or inappropriate names as this won’t look great to an employer.

It might be worth setting up an email specifically for job searching, especially if you get lots of emails already. If you’re going to do this though, make sure you regularly check your new email account – you don’t want to miss emails inviting you to interviews!

If you have a smartphone, you can also connect your emails to your phone using the email provider’s app in the App or Play Store.

Social Tariffs – Broadband

Social tariffs are offered by mobile and broadband providers to help people who may be struggling to afford these services. Some packages are only available for people receiving government benefits.

You can find an up to date list of social tariffs on the Ofcom website:
Cheaper broadband and phone packages – Ofcom

Cheap Phone Tariffs

It can also help having a phone when looking for work. It doesn’t have to be all-singing-all-dancing, as long as you can make and receive calls and texts. an old pay as you go brick phone will do.

VOXI have a tariff especially for jobseekers which gives you Endless Data (+ calls & texts) at £10 a month for six months. There’s no contract or credit check and you can leave at any time. You will need to prove that you are in receipt of JSA, ESA or Universal Credit to be eligible for this offer

Money Saving Expert update their list of the best sim-only deals every week

SO:Let’s Connect – Support to get online

SO:Let’s Connect is here to help people get more digitally connected by providing:

  • Equipment
  • Connectivity
  • Support

Equipment – if you don’t have IT equipment already, we can loan you a laptop/tablet/desktop computer, for 6 months (with option to extend to 12 months) – we then offer a Buy Back scheme if you wish to keep the equipment at the end of the loan period.

Connectivity – we can also loan you a 4G dongle to help you get connected quickly.

Support – every beneficiary of SO:Let’s Connect is allocated a mentor (a volunteer “Digital Connector”) who will help you get connected and support you to get the best out of the IT equipment, whether it’s been provided by us or it’s your own.

Find out more: www.soletsconnect.co.uk and call 023 8021 6050

National Databank

The National Databank provides free sims and mobile data (as well as talk minutes and texts) to people in need via Good Things Foundation’s network of local community partners. It’s like a ‘food bank’ but for internet connectivity data. Community organisations can apply to access the databank, enabling them to provide data to people in their communities who need it.

Find out more and find your nearest centre who can provide support

Free Digital Skills Course

Solent Mind have created a free casual course into the digital world, set in a safe and calm environment based at Mayfield Nurseries in Southampton. This course will help you learn how to:

  • Navigate phones, tablets, and computers confidently
  • Browse the Internet safely
  • Create an email account and communicate online
  • Access GP’s and mental health services online
  • Order groceries and shop online
  • Have fun with technology and build confidence

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about this opportunity, please contact Simon on 07966474188 or email Digitalskills@solentmind.org.uk

CV Writing

What is a CV?

A CV is a professional document that showcases your skills and experience to a potential employer. Our top tips for writing a CV are:

  • Think about having different CVs for different jobs – make sure you tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for using the job description and person specification
  • Make sure your CV is clearly laid out – you can use our free CV template to do this
  • There’s lots of different opinions on how long a CV should be; our advice would be to make sure it’s no longer than 2 sides of A4 paper – this is because an employer can see all the information they need on one sheet of paper. Don’t worry if you can’t fill 2 sides of A4 though, especially if you’re looking for your first job.
  • Check your spelling and grammar
  • Use bullet points instead of paragraphs – this makes it easier to read your CV and keeps it short, snappy and to the point
  • Keep your CV up to date. Every time you complete a course or gain new skills and experience get it on your CV. Also make sure you update your CV if your contact details change!

CV template

We’ve created a simple CV template to help you write your CV. Just fill in the gaps with your information and save a copy!

How to write a personal profile

Your personal profile (the paragraph at the top of your CV) is the first thing an employer will read about you. Research shows that employers only spend 5-7 seconds reading a CV, so this is your chance to make them want to read more…

Your personal profile should be short, only a few lines, and summarise your transferable skills and experience. When writing a personal profile, remember Who What Goals

Who are you?What can you offer?What are your goals?
A hardworking professional…

An ambitious marketing graduate…

A highly skilled professional…
What skills can you bring?

What experience do you have?

Be specific
Currently seeking an opportunity to…

Looking to join a market-leading company…

Wanting to establish a career in…

What about references?

Employers check your references to make sure you’re reliable and have worked for the places you say you have. You don’t have to put your references’ contact details on your CV – you’ll be wasting valuable space that could instead be used to talk more about your skills. Instead, write “References are available upon request” at the end of your CV.

An employer will specify who is an acceptable reference – they usually ask for 2. They can’t be family members and should ideally be previous employers. Don’t worry if you’re not sure who to use as a referee; you could ask old teachers or anyone who has known you for a long time in a professional capacity. Remember, always get permission to put someone down as a reference.

Job Searching

How to job search

There are many different ways to look for work. All of these methods are great on their own, but utilising as many of these methods as you can will greatly improve your chances of landing that interview.

  • Job sites – there are loads of job search websites out there and you can search specifically or generally for the type of work you’re looking for. Some sites will allow you to send a CV direct to the employer, while others will take you to an application form
  • Specific company websites – larger companies such as supermarkets and local authorities will have their own dedicated careers websites. Have a think about companies you would like to work for and look for their careers pages – a lot of these vacancies won’t necessarily appear on job hunting websites
  • Newspapers – local newspapers and community magazines will often have sections for job adverts. Papers like the Daily Echo also have an online jobs section
  • Shop window – these types of adverts are common in retail. Many shops will put a poster up in store and encourage you to give your CV to the manager or apply on their website
  • CV drop – handing your speculative CVs in to employers can be time consuming, but it also shows you’re proactive and committed. Some employers may keep your CV on file in case they have jobs in the future.
  • Telephone – this can be scary, but also worthwhile. Pick up the phone and call some local businesses. You never know, they might have some vacancies…
  • Social media – social media isn’t just about keeping in touch and sharing photos. You can also join groups and follow accounts to help you find work. Smaller businesses may also advertise their vacancies on social media to save money. We’ve got more information about safely using social media to look for jobs below


Have you ever heard the expression “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? This can apply when looking for work; networking, and building up your network of support can help you access more opportunities and put yourself in front of potential employers. When we hear the term networking we tend to think of business people pitching ideas and making connections. But networking can also really help when looking for work. Networking with businesses can allow you to directly sell your skills and experience to an employer.

Did you know, 85% of employers use their own networks to fill their vacancies?


Networking allows you to use the people you know, the people they know, and the people they know to look for work. Make sure you let the people in your life know you’re looking for work; they might have their own friends and contacts who are looking for staff, or they might be able to point you in the direction of a brand new opportunity. People in your network could be:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Old colleagues
  • Teachers
  • People you talk to regularly
  • People you know on social media
  • Recruitment experts
  • Support workers and organisations

Find out more about networking from the National Careers Service


Job search websites

Agencies in Southampton

  • Blue Arrow – Administration, Hospitality, Catering, Logistics and Industrial
  • Konnect Recruit – Construction
  • Michael Jay Recruitment Services – Construction and Facilities Management
  • Drivers Ltd – Driving
  • Premier Recruitment Solutions – Finance, Construction, Driving, Industrial
  • ADS Recruitment – Finance, Administration, Customer Service, Driving, Engineering, Industrial
  • Red Chilli Recruitment – Finance, Administration, Engineering, Management, HR, Manufacturing, Sales
  • Pathfinder Personnel – Administration, Driving, Industrial, Security
  • RFC Recruitment Solutions – Administration, Construction, Customer Service, Driving, Industrial, Sales
  • 3D Personnel – Construction
  • Teacher Active – Education
  • Newcross Healthcare – Health Care, Social Care
  • CMA Recruitment – Finance, Management, HR
  • Anderselite – Construction, Engineering, Facilities Management, Health & Safety, IT, Rail
  • Page Personnel – Finance, Administration, Customer Service, Government / Public Sector, Health Care, HR, Industrial, Logistics, Manufacturing , Media, Retail, Sales, Telecommunications, Energy
  • Angel Human Resources – Finance, Administration, Catering and Hospitality, Management, Facilities Management, HR, Industrial, Marketing, Sales, Social Care
  • Gi Group – Finance, Administration, Catering and Hospitality, Customer Service, Driving, Industrial, Logistics, Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales
  • Hays – Legal, Administration, Social Care, Construction, Government / Public Sector
  • City Centre Recruitment – Finance, Administration, Catering and Hospitality, Customer Service, Driving, Engineering, HR, Industrial, Legal, Marketing, Sales
  • The Best Connection – Driving, Industrial, Logistics, Production, Retail
  • Manpower – Administration, Construction, Customer Service, Driving, Education, Engineering, Management, Finance, Government / Public Sector, HR, IT, Legal, Logistics, Manufacturing, Marketing, Retail, Sales, Social Care, Energy
  • Office Angels – Finance, Administration, Construction, Customer Service, Engineering, Facilities Management, HR, Industrial, IT, Legal, Marketing, Retail, Sales, Travel
  • The rpc Group of Companies
  • Berry Recruitment
  • Pertemps
  • August Clarke – Accounting

Using Social Media to look for work

Social media can be a great tool for looking for jobs. You can use social media to:

  • Build your networks
  • Get noticed by employers
  • Find “hidden” jobs that aren’t on job search sites
  • Join groups


LinkedIn is a free professional social networking site. You can connect with employers and other workers in the sectors you’re interested in, as well as link with mentors and raise your profile to employers.

Top tips for using LinkedIn

  • Upload a recent, high quality profile picture. Wear a professional outfit and stand against a plain background
  • Connect with people – start with the people you know and expand from there
  • Be active – keep your account up to date to show employers you are motivated. The more active you are, the more likely you are to be noticed
  • Like, comment and share articles and posts that interest you
  • Join groups and sign up to newsletters to stay up to date

Find out how to set up a LinkedIn profile with the National Careers Service


Facebook has become popular in recent years for job postings and networking. There are several ways to use Facebook to look for work:

Facebook Jobs – search for job postings on Facebook near you

Company Pages – lots of companies, especially smaller businesses, will post their job vacancies on their Facebook page. If there are particular companies you would like to work for, make sure you like their page to stay up to date with future vacancies. You could even send them a message on Facebook to see if they’re hiring

Groups – there are several local job groups in Facebook. Just search “Southampton Jobs” on Facebook and ask to join. Remember, these job postings aren’t always verified by Facebook, so make sure you follow Facebook’s guidelines when using this feature

Important things to remember:

  • If a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Research the employer and ask for more information
  • Report listings that ask for payments
  • Don’t transfer funds or make payments on behalf of an employer
  • If you’re following a link to a website to apply, make sure the URL has “https” at the front to show it is a secure website
  • Meet in safe, public locations for interviews. Make sure you tell friends or family when you are going and when you expect to be finished


You can use Twitter to look for jobs by following company profiles – many large companies now have specific careers accounts on Twitter, solely for advertising their jobs. You can also research the company to help you decide if you would like to work there and prepare for your interview.

In Southampton, there are several accounts and weekly events on Twitter that can help you find work:

  • @sotoncareers – our Twitter account that share local vacancies, advice and information around employment
  • @JCPinHants_IOW – the local Jobcentre account shares job vacancies in Southampton, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
  • @CareersSE – the National Careers Service account covering the South East of England regularly shares vacancies and advice
  • #SotonJobs Hour takes place every Thursday 1pm-2pm with employers sharing their vacancies
  • #SouthEastJobs is the hashtag for the National Careers Service Twitter Jobs Fairs that take place several times a year

Use the search tool to your advantage

To make sure you’re finding jobs relevant to you, you can use Twitter’s search bar to get specific vacancies. A popular way of doing this is to search location + vacancy + industry. For example, Southampton vacancy administration 

Safety and important things to keep in mind

While social media is a great resource when used properly, unfortunately there are always people who will try to exploit these tools for their own gain. It’s important to stay safe and look after your personal data online.

SAFERjobs is a useful website for job seekers, agency staff, and contractors who have experienced any suspected fraud, malpractice, breach of legislation, or poor experience. They also have some helpful articles for job searching safely and to help you spot any scams.

Here are some important things to remember:

  1. Never share your personal data, passwords, National Insurance Number or bank details on social media, even if a potential employer asks you to
  2. Limit the amount of information you share – don’t give out your date of birth, email address, home address or phone number on social media
  3. Work at home schemes are commonly used by scammers – research the company and ask questions about pay, commission, responsibilities and timeframes to check it is a legitimate opportunity
  4. Make sure you set up your privacy and security settings properly
  5. Set strong passwords and don’t have the same password for everything
  6. If something looks suspicious, delete/block it
  7. Make sure your security software is up to date and working

Get Safe Online – Job Searching

Your online appearance 

Whether you use social media to look for work or not, you should always make sure there is nothing on any of your online profile that you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Some employers will look up candidates on social media – this isn’t illegal, as long as they don’t discriminate based on protected characteristics.

If an employer looked up your social media and didn’t give you the job because they found out you had a disability, that would be against the law. However, if they didn’t give you a job based on content you shared that they thought was inappropriate, that is allowed.

There are 4 easy steps to take to make sure you’re appearing professional online:

Privacy settings – check your privacy settings and make sure only friends/followers/connections can see your posts

Profile Clean – take some time to go through ALL your posts on social media, deleting or hiding anything that is inappropriate or questionable. If it makes you cringe, it should probably be deleted

Google yourself – put your name into Google and see what comes up. If you spot anything you don’t like, track it down and fix the issue

Think about what you’re posting – next time you’re posting photos of a drunk night out or getting in spats on Twitter, step back and ask yourself; Would you want an employer to see this?

Southampton Jobcentre Plus Webinar on how social media can help your job search

Application forms

Application forms may be daunting at first, but it’s worth taking the time to get them right. The most important part of an application form is usually labelled as “Supporting Statement” or “Other Relevant Information”.

To complete this section, you’ll want to use the Job Description and Person Specification. These documents give an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the job, as well as the skills and experience employers are looking for. Go through the documents and use this section to outline how your skills and experience match up to the job description and person specification. Give lots of examples and be really specific. If you can clearly show how you meet all the requirements of the job, you are far more likely to be shortlisted for an interview than someone who leaves this section blank or rushes through it. It’s time consuming, but definitely worthwhile.

Application Form Tips and Tricks

  • ALWAYS match your application to the job description and person specification
  • Research the company using their website or job advert
  • Make sure the job is what you want to do
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application
  • Make a copy so you can draft the application
  • Follow the instructions e.g BLOCK CAPITALS, use a black pen etc.
  • Be as neat as you can
  • Check your spelling
  • Save the application for future reference – this will help you prepare for interviews if you’re shortlisted
  • Check the form over once more before you send it – get someone else to check as well

Preparing for Interviews

The key to succeeding at interviews is preparation. If you arrive on the day planning to “wing it”, you’re not going to do very well. Employers can tell when someone has prepared for their interview, and it will show you are motivated and dedicated. Your preparation should start as soon as you’ve been told you’ve got an interview.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail

Benjamin Franklin

You might get an email or phone call inviting you to an interview. Make sure you take notes of where it will be and if there’s anything you need to bring. Make sure you confirm you will be attending, whether it’s verbally or through a recruitment website.

The Days leading up to the interview 

  • Research the company – look up their website and social media and find out their values
  • Check the job description – most of the time, interview questions will be based on the job description, so having examples of how your skills and experience meet these requirements will help to strengthen your answers
  • Read through your application again – what you’ve written on here is the reason you’ve been invited to an interview, so it’s good to refresh yourself and be prepared to go into more detail
  • Plan your journey – make sure you know where your going and how you’re going to get there. Look up bus/transport routes and work out timings. You might even want to do a test run beforehand
  • Sort out your clothes – make sure you have suitable interview clothes (more on that below) and that they fit properly.

The Day Before the Interview 

  • Get your clothes ready – make sure they’re cleaned and ironed
  • Make sure you have money for parking/public transport
  • Get your documents ready – if you’ve been asked to bring ID or certificates, make sure you have these ready and in a neat folder
  • Double check your research and documents – but don’t leave it until the last minute
  • Get some sleep – try and get a good night’s sleep so you’re feeling positive and ready to go

On the Day

  • Eat – try and have a good meal so you’re not feeling hungry or tired in the interview
  • Give yourself time to get ready – you may need to set an alarm, but you don’t want to be rushing around as this will add to the stress
  • Leave with time to spare – you definitely don’t want to be late, but you don’t want to be too early either. Aim to arrive 10 minutes before your interview is due to begin
  • Make sure you’re clean – have a shower, brush your teeth and clean your nails. If you’re looking and feeling good, you will feel more confident going in to your interview
  • Avoid last minute cigarettes – mints won’t cover it
  • Introduce yourself confidently and politely – remember, you’re being interviewed from the moment you arrive

Bodyswaps – Virtual Reality Interview Preparation

Southampton City Council is working with Bodyswaps to use a combination of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence to support people to master job interviews.

We’re giving people the opportunity to use our Virtual Reality headsets to develop their interview techniques and build confidence.

  1. Discover a three-step strategy for preparing yourself for character-related questions in a job interview
  2. Practise techniques for managing anxiety and banishing self-critical thoughts before an interview 
  3. Identify your non-negotiables and character strengths
  4. Learn how to advocate for what you need to land that job on your own terms 
  5. Practise analysing interview questions (including curveballs) to identify what the interviewer is looking for
  6. Discover a failsafe three-step strategy for answering behavioural questions in a job interview
  7. Craft winning answers using the C.A.R. (Context, Action, Result) technique
  8. Practise your verbal and non-verbal communication skills when delivering responses in an interview

Find out more about Bodyswaps:
Bodyswaps Job Interview Simulator – Practise job interviews with VR & AI

If you’d like to book a session to use Bodyswaps:

Call: 023 8091 7585

Email: employment.support.team@southampton.gov.uk

Drop in to our Work Club at Central Library every Thursday between 3pm and 5pm

Attending Interviews

How to dress for interviews

You’ll generally want to dress formally and in professional clothing for most interviews.

  • Research the company – get a feel for what the company is like. Office based roles may require formal attire, whereas you wouldn’t be expected to wear your best suit for a construction interview
  • Wear comfortable clothes that make you feel confident
  • Avoid revealing clothing or clothes that don’t fit properly
  • Make sure there are no stains, holes or marks
  • Don’t overthink it


  • 2 piece dark coloured suit
  • White or solid-coloured shirt
  • Plain tie
  • Black trousers
  • Polished shoes (not trainers)
  • Dark coloured socks (not white)


  • 2 piece dark coloured suit with dark trousers or dark knee-length skirt
  • White or solid-coloured blouse
  • Closed toe shoes (try to avoid very high heels)
  • Nail polish should be a neutral colour

Free dry cleaning for unemployed people going for interviews

If you are unemployed and going for an interview, Timpson have a service where they will clean your interview clothes free of charge. This service is available in 500 locations nationwide.

Click here to find out more

Interview Tips and Tricks

  • Take your time and think about what you’ve been asked before answering
  • Don’t worry if you don’t understand a question – ask for it to be rephrased or clarified
  • It’s ok to bring notes or a CV in with you – just make sure you use them as a guide and don’t read directly from them
  • It’s normal to feel nervous
  • Keep your body language positive
  • Never assume the interviewer fully understands your experience – give lots of examples and full explanations

The STAR Method

STAR is an acronym to help us structure interview answers. It is especially useful for answering questions about experience of certain situations (e.g. “Tell me about a time when…”)

STAR can be used in interviews, application forms and covering letters

Situation – set the scene by choosing an example relevant to the question

Task – what was your role in that situation? Be specific to your roles and responsibilities

Action – what did you do? Give lots of detail and examples

Result – what was the positive outcome? This might be increased sales or time being saved. What did you learn?

Body Language

Body language is how we describe non-verbal communication. This can be anything from facial expressions to posture and it has a big impact on how we’re perceived in interviews. In fact, what we say only accounts for 7% of how we communicate with people. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your body language in an interview.

When communicating, what we say accounts for 7%, our facial expressions and body language account for 55% and our tone of voice accounts for 38%

Professor Albert Mehrabian (1964)

How to use body language to your advantage

  • Do: Make eye contact to show you’re paying attention
  • Don’t: Slouch – sitting forward or leaning back makes you look relaxed and uninterested
  • Do: Use you hands – gestures show enthusiasm and make you come across as engaged
  • Don’t: Touch your face – playing with you hair or rubbing your face can make you come across as bored
  • Do: Smile and nod – you want to show you have personality and are paying attention
  • Don’t: Cross your arms or legs – this can sometimes look aggressive

Video Interviews

Video interviews are becoming increasingly common, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are our top tips to help you feel more confident about your next video interview:

  • Find a quiet and well-lit space with no distractions
  • Make sure light is facing you, not behind you – this will stop your face being covered by shadow
  • Test your device’s webcam, microphone and internet connection before the interview
  • Treat it like a face to face interview. Dress smartly and try to avoid any bright or stripy clothing, as this will interfere with the camera and distract you and the interviewer
  • Sit comfortably – your webcam should be level with your eyes and you shouldn’t have to lean forwards or backwards
  • Sit in front of a clear background – avoid sunny windows or distracting wall art
  • Remember the interviewer can see you at all times. Maintain eye contact and positive body language

What to do if things go wrong?

This is still relatively new technology, and with lots of people still getting used to it, things might not always go to plan.

  • Make sure you have the interviewer’s phone number. If the technology fails, you can still complete the interview by phone
  • Don’t panic – the interviewer will understand. They’ve probably experienced technical difficulties themselves before
  • Only worry about what you can control – if outside noise causes a distraction, apologise and wait for it to stop
  • If you’re struggling to hear the interviewer, or if their connection is bad, politely let them know so they can fix it

Common Interview Questions and How to Answer them

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

The Employer wants to know how ambitious and committed to the job you are. Think about your long term goals and overall aspirations. Show the employer you are keen to develop.

Tell me about your previous experience

The Employer wants to know about your work history and what experience you have. Don’t worry if you don’t have much previous work experience. Focus on what you do have, and show them you’re reliable, determined and hardworking. Remember to talk about your transferable skills and experience – this can come from work, school, volunteering or home life.

What makes a good team player? Tell me about a time you’ve worked in a team

Employers value team work since the majority of jobs will require you to work in some sort of a team. Think about what makes good teamwork, such as communication, clear direction and diverse skills. What can you contribute to a team?

How would your friends/colleagues describe you?

The Employer wants to know if you’ll be a good match for their team. You’re not just an employment robot – employers want to know more about you as a person and whether you’d work well in their organisation. Remember to keep it positive and show you’re a well-rounded individual.

How would you respond if…

What would you do if a customer…

This tests your problem-solving skills and gives you a chance to show that you can think on your feet. You can’t always prepare for these, but having a good idea of what the job involves will really help you to come up with a good answer in the shortest time. Remember to use the STAR method to structure your answer!

Do you have any questions for us?

Yes! If an employer invites you to ask them a question, make sure you do. Maybe you’d like to know about training and development or perhaps you’d like to know more about something you found out when researching the company. It’s good to have these questions prepared before the interview. Some questions you could ask are:

  • What’s a typical day like?
  • What training do you offer?
  • Who will I be working with?
  • How much time will I spend doing…?
  • How do you see the role developing?

Careers Advice

  • National Career Service helps you explore careers and see what qualifications and experience you will need
  • icould shows a range of careers with real stories from people in a variety of different careers
  • Career Companion offers careers guidance and advice for students, teachers, careers advisers and parents
  • successatschool Success at School is the place for young people to explore careers, get the lowdown on top employers, and search for the latest jobs, courses and advice.


I don’t have any ID. What can I do about this?

Employers ask for ID to check that you have the right to live and work in the UK. It’s easiest to use photo ID like a passport or driving license, but don’t worry if you don’t have photo ID. Employers can also accept a combination of official documents such as birth certificates, utility bills and council tax statements. Find out more about the types of documents employers will accept

Where can I find easy to understand information about work and COVID-19?

The Citizens Advice Bureau has lots of useful information about working during the pandemic. You can also stay up to date with government guidelines here

What should I put on my CV?

There’s lots of information about this in our CV section above. At the very least, your CV should include up to date contact details (email and phone number), a summary of your skills and experience, details of any qualifications and details of your previous or most recent work history.

What can I do if I don’t have any work experience?

Don’t worry if you don’t have any work experience. Everyone has to start somewhere. Think about skills from your personal life (for example, school, college, caring responsibilities) and how they can be transferred to a job. Your hobbies and interests can also be a great source of transferable skills. If you’re looking for your first job, employers want to see that you have potential, so a good awareness of your skills is essential.

How can I get references?

Most jobs will ask for one or two referees to vouch for you and your skills. Referees are most commonly previous employers, but they don’t have to be. If you don’t have a former employer, or you’re not in contact with them anymore, you might want to consider:

  • Former Teacher
  • Youth Worker
  • A professional who has known you for a long time
  • Someone who has known you for a long time can provide a character reference
  • Volunteering
  • Teacher from a recent training course
  • In most cases, family members CAN NOT be references

Do I need to tell an employer about my disability or health condition?

No, you don’t need to tell an employer about your disability or health condition. However, if your disability means that you need some adjustments to be able to do your job, it might be a good idea to talk to your employer about your requirements and any adaptations. Remember, it is against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of your disability.

Get more advice on this from the Citizens Advice Bureau

I have a criminal record. Will this stop me from getting a job?

Depending on the severity of your criminal record, you may not be able to work in certain environments like schools or care homes. However, there are still jobs out there that you can do. You can get advice on how, when and what to disclose to an employer from Nacro and Unlock. People with convictions can also get help to find work from Clean Sheet

I am under 18. What jobs can I do?

You need to check your school leaving age as lots of what you can and can’t do depends on this. Once you’ve worked this out, you can visit the Citizens Advice website to find out what you can and can’t do


Apprenticeships help you earn while you learn and acquire all the training and skills you need to pursue your career.

The government website advertises apprenticeships available across the UK. Search by occupation and postcode

Who are apprenticeships for?

You can start an Apprenticeship from the age of 16 and there is no upper age limit. If you’re looking for your first job, already in a job and want to gain professional qualifications, thinking about re-training into a different career, or returning to work, an apprenticeship can help you to develop important skills while gaining valuable work experience.

Did you know, there are apprenticeships in more than 1,500 job roles that cover 170 different industries

What types of apprenticeship are there?

  • Intermediate (Level 2) – this is equivalent to 5 GCSEs
  • Advanced (Level 3) – this is equivalent to 2 A Levels
  • Higher (Level 4 or 5) – this is equivalent to a BTEC, HND or Foundation Degree
  • Degree (Level 6 or 7) – this is equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s

How much will I get paid?

Apprentices are entitled to the Apprentice Minimum Wage. From April 2022, apprentices aged 16-18 or apprentices aged 19+ in their first year are entitled to a minimum of £4.81 an hour, although lots of employers do pay more than this.

Introduction to Apprenticeships Webinar

Find out more about Apprenticeships on our Apprenticeships page

T Levels

T Levels are a brand-new, 2-year qualification that you can do as an alternative to A levels, other post-16 courses or an apprenticeship. They bring classroom learning and an extended industry placement together on a course designed with businesses and employers.

T Levels are ideal if you have finished your GCSEs and want the knowledge and experience to get straight into employment, an apprenticeship or higher education.

You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% on a 45-day placement with an employer to give you the skills and knowledge companies look for.

Find out more about T Levels: www.tlevels.gov.uk

Who offers T Levels in the area?


Volunteering is a great way to develop your skills, improve confidence and be a part of your local community. It will also give you something to put on your CV and a new reference. Despite COVID-19, there are still many charities and organisations depending on volunteers who have made sure it is still safe to volunteer with them. And if you’re not comfortable volunteering in the community, there are still lots of virtual, online and telephone volunteering opportunities out there!

Southampton Voluntary Services have loads of information on their website about local opportunities and how you can become a volunteer

SO:Linked have compiled a list of volunteering opportunities across Southampton

Search and apply for volunteering roles with Do-it.org

COVID-19 volunteering: https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavirus-volunteering

Education and Training

Find out more about what you can do after leaving school

Find out about education and training opportunities once you have turned 18

Find out about adult learning for people aged 19 and over

19+ Advanced Learner Loans – You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a course at a college or training provider in England.

Training and Apprenticeship Providers

Full time courses and apprenticeships at City College

Itchen College

Online Open Day resources: Itchen College :: Online Open Day

Here you have access to:

  • A talk from our Principal
  • Welcome to Itchen Sixth Form College Video
  • Student Testimonials
  • Presentations and videos on each of our courses
  • FAQs
  • A digital copy of our prospectus

Richard Taunton Sixth Form College

Bitterne Park Sixth Form College

St Anne’s Sixth Form

Maths and English courses with Skills2Achieve

Apprenticeships at Steve Willis Training Centres

Courses and apprenticeships at Eastleigh College

Our prospectus has gone digital this year and a copy can be downloaded here https://www.eastleigh.ac.uk/about/prospectus-download/

Stay up to date with open events that are coming up https://www.eastleigh.ac.uk/about/events/

We also offer a range of apprenticeships to people aged 16+ which have intakes throughout the year. All courses can be found here https://www.eastleigh.ac.uk/apprenticeships-all-learners/

We offer leisure courses to people aged 18+ which have intakes throughout the year https://www.eastleigh.ac.uk/leisure-courses/

We offer a number of professional courses for adults in a  range of subjects which may be of interest, these courses can be found here https://www.eastleigh.ac.uk/adult-learning/professional-courses/.

We also offer a free 10 week course called e-Digital Skills for Life and Work aimed at learners who would like to become more confident with using technology and certain computer packages. The next intake for this course is April 2021, https://www.eastleigh.ac.uk/careers/computing-and-websites/course-listing/e-digital-skills-for-life-and-work-part-time-faculty/.

Barton Peveril Sixth Form College

Brockenhurst College

Courses, T-Levels and Apprenticeships at Fareham College

Direct link to our Full Time prospectus- Full Time Courses 2021/22 by Fareham College

Traineeships | Fareham College

We also have an online showcase available and this has a variety of course videos and contact, the direct link for this is Online Showcase | Learn More at Fareham College

Sparsholt College

University and Higher Education

TheUniGuide helps you find and compare universities and degree courses

Advice and resources from the Southern Universities Network

Solent University

University of Southampton

  • Southampton Information Directory
  • Not Going to Uni has information and advice on job vacancies and careers after A-levels, including Higher Apprenticeships
  • Looking for Work Careers Booklet from Youth Employment UK – this free careers booklet has been designed as your personal guide to planning, applying for and landing your dream job. Ideal for young people 18+ this booklet is editable and ready to help you start your career journey.
  • Ambitious About Autism Transition to Employment Toolkit – a new employment toolkit to support autistic young people into the job market. The Transition to employment toolkit is free to download and has sections for autistic young people, careers professionals and employers. It can be downloaded as a whole or as individual sections, and includes lots of editable forms and templates. DOWNLOAD NOW https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/employment-toolkit

Specific Career areas

  • ScreenSkills – for jobs in media, fashion, game design and other creative areas
  • Shaping Your World is an interactive website that acts as a guide to an awesome career in the built environment
  • britishmarine.co.uk is the go to site of you want a career at sea
  • Careersatsea aims to inspire the next generation of seafarers People1st Career Pathway Map shows how different careers are linked by transferable skills
  • UKFT Futures – Explore the UK Fashion and Textile Industry
  • LANTRA offers careers information on land-based careers, work with animals, conservation and the environment
  • Health Careers tells you more about career opportunities in the NHS
  • How to become a hairdresser – a useful article from the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy
  • Space Careers – find out about different career opportunities within the UK Space Industry
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