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The best summer jobs for students

Lifeguard sitting by the pool

Finding ways to make money while you study can be difficult, especially if term time is high-intensity. Summer jobs offer a great way of making money whilst not interfering with your studies.

In this article, we cover some of the best summer jobs for students and highlight some of the highest-paying summer jobs. From childcare to teaching to festival work, we cover what each role will look like, how much you can expect to earn, and how to apply.

Full time and part time summer jobs

1. Babysitter / Nanny

Hourly rate: £12 – £20
Find nanny jobs here.

Do you have your ambitions set on teaching after university? Nannying, au pairing and babysitting are all great ways of securing vital experience with children, especially at primary school age.

Most of the time, you’ll need your own vehicle (and a full clean driving licence) and some employers will ask for a police check to be carried out. Sometimes these police checks are paid by the employer, and other times you will need to pay for this yourself (£55).

Hours will vary, with some parents just requiring cover while they’re at work while others are looking for someone to live in throughout the summer. The advantage of live-in roles is that where they go, you go, so you might end up with a free exotic holiday.

It’s worth looking for babysitting roles with Yoopies, which is an agency fulfilling a lot of these vacancies.

2. Lifeguard

Hourly rate: £10
Find lifeguard jobs here.

Do you love being by the water? Lifeguarding is a great summer job if you have ambitions of a role in sports or health and fitness in the future. You’ll need a lifeguarding certificate which normally includes health and safety, first aid, and swimming proficiency.

If you’d rather be near the beach you’ll need additional certifications which really put your fitness to the test.

You can expect hours to vary between 20 – 35 hours per week throughout the summer so lifeguarding is a stable job that will guarantee consistent income.

3. Waiter / Waitress

Hourly rate: £9 – £12 plus tips
Find waiter jobs here.

This is a job that may fluctuate across the summer, especially in touristy areas where events may create particularly busy weeks or weekends, with the need for employees tailing off as the summer draws to a close.

The advantage of working as wait staff is the potential for tips which can be a pretty decent boost to your pay cheque after each shift. You’ll also have some flexibility when it comes to hours if someone is willing to swap.

Working as wait staff doesn’t require any particular skills but you need to be relatively fit and healthy as you’ll spend most of your shift on your feet. It’s also not the ideal role if you’re clumsy as employers have been known to take from your wages for any damage and breakages that occur.

As well as seasonal roles there are loads of part-time and casual roles as waiters and waitresses so it could be a great way to supplement your income in term time!

4. Festival Staff

Hourly rate: £0 – £12
Find festival jobs here.

Do you love music? Adore the outdoors? Or are you obsessed with comedy? Why not spend your summer working your way through some of the UK’s best-known and best-loved festivals?

Roles could include bar work, stewarding, ticketing, or a mixture of a few things. Often you’ll get free access to the festival itself when you’re not at work. If it’s a camping event, you’ll have your own campsite alongside other members of staff so it’s a great way to meet new friends.

Not so bothered about the cash but want more of the experience? Voluntary festival roles are a great way of ensuring you have plenty of time to enjoy the festival, normally giving you at least half of each day off.

Looking for a higher-paid festival role? Become a licensed security guard (upwards of £175) to secure an income of at least £12 per hour.

5. Brand Ambassador / Promotor

Hourly rate: £10 – £15 plus performance-related bonuses
Find brand ambassador jobs here.

Pride yourself in having the gift of the gab? If you’re looking for a role in sales in the future then this is a great way of dipping your toe in the water. You’ll be responsible for working with a brand to sell their product by getting it in front of people.

This could entail representing a charity, selling in shopping centres (which is a lot harder than it looks) or simply giving out samples.

For an easier ride, it’s worth looking out for promotion roles at food and drinks brands or with experiential agencies. These tend to be running fun promotional pop-ups in places like train stations or handing out freebies. You may even end up working at some of the festivals!

There’s no guarantee of income, often shifts go on a first-come-first-served basis so you may need a more stable summer job that this work simply supplements.

6. Office Temp

Hourly rate: £9 – £25
Find office temp jobs here.

Rather spend your summer sitting comfortably behind a desk? Temporary office roles are particularly prevalent during the summer due to people spending time with their families. It’s also a difficult time for employers to fill permanent roles so they turn to temporary fixes.

You’ll need some solid computer skills and be able to pick up administrative tasks easily. Some prior administrative experience is a big plus.

This role has the potential to be a high-paying summer job, with some more technical roles paying over £25ph. What’s more, you’ll be working 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday so banking some serious hours.

It’s worth noting that these roles have a lot less flexibility. Sure, you’ll accrue paid time off but you might not be encouraged to take it (they’ll pay you for your leave at the end).

Interested in an office temp role this summer? Get signed up to agencies like Reed, Office Angels, and Brook Street so you’re on their books.

7. Intern

Hourly rate: £9 – £25
Find summer internships here.

Want to spend your summer doing something geared towards your dream career? Numerous businesses offer summer internship programmes that are focused on learning and development. From smaller charities and local businesses to large multinational companies like EY and Visa you’ll find a wide variety of summer placements available in a range of roles and industries.

These can be a great foot in the door with an employer of your choice, especially if they offer graduate schemes or apprenticeships and the pay can be lucrative too.

It’s worth seeing what schemes your college, school, or university has in place as they may have funded internship programmes with businesses in your area that are open to their student body.

For specific roles like finance or computing, you’ll need a relevant degree in order to apply.

If you’re interested in a summer internship, get in quick. Some applications open up to a year in advance and they’re highly competitive.

8. TEFL Teacher

Hourly rate: £20
Find TEFL jobs here.

TEFL teaching (Teach English as a Foreign Language) can be a fantastic opportunity to travel while you work with a range of opportunities in far-flung destinations. Whether you’re interested in a career in teaching or languages, or simply want an excuse to travel, this can be a really lucrative summer job.

To qualify, you’ll need to complete 120 hours of training, which can be done online for around £200. A fair amount of money to shell out, but you can use your certificate time and time again. You may even use it after you graduate so you can work overseas.

Not interested in working overseas during your summer break? You can work as a TEFL teacher in the UK too, as every year loads of students travel to the UK to learn English and experience our way of life.

More recently, TEFL Teaching can also be a remote summer job as students or teachers may be less able to travel. If this is the case, you’ll normally be working remotely during the daylight hours of your students, which could mean the middle of the night!

If you are interested in opportunities overseas, you’ll often get food and board as part of your employment package. For those with an adventurous streak, this could be the best summer job ever.

Common questions about summer jobs

How old do I have to be to work?

The youngest age a child can work part-time is 13 and once someone is outside of school, they can work full-time at 40 hours per week. However, certain roles have an age limit. This could be because the role involves serving alcohol or looking after children.

What is the minimum wage for each wage group?

The minimum wage is the legal minimum you are allowed to earn. For those aged 23 and over, this is now the National Living Wage which is calculated based on the current cost of living.

  • Apprentice: £4.81
  • Under 18: £4.81
  • 18 – 20: £6.83
  • 21 – 22: £9.18
  • 23 and over: £9.50