Best High Paying Jobs For 18 Year Olds

March 30, 2021

For students in London, there are few options open to them when they think of jobs once they leave school.

Most get an apprenticeship or a traineeship which will offer little experience and few prospects after school.

What’s more, it’s extremely unlikely that those apprenticeships will pay enough to live in London. But perhaps that’s not the whole story.

Yes, the average London salary of £29,464 is below the national average of £28,950.

However, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has suggested that the real median wage for men and women aged 21 and over is £33,243, which means that, in London, women earn £15,000 less than men and young people are earning £2,000 less than their full-time counterparts.

There are certainly reasons to bemoan the lack of full-time jobs for 18-year-olds, but if you’re determined to work, there are a few careers available that could earn you thousands each year.

The role

downsizing at work

Twelve employees work at Pick My Rollers in London. They all know how to roll out the 30-inch wheel, hand press 10-inch oval molding and, of course, grind the edges.

Each team member is also responsible for taking part in the design process.

In the best years of her career, Sam Thompson has earned £42,000. All told, she’s only taken home £2,000 in her entire working life.

But in her first year with the business, Thompson was the mastermind behind the machine. She was recruited as a machinist in 2010, but the position changed when the boss offered her an opportunity to expand her role.

“I would like to be more involved in the technical side of the business, which means I'm not really involved in the creative side of the business. And this is why the jobs are so poorly paid," she says.

Thompson is not alone in thinking she is underpaid. Pick My Rollers managing director Mark Munro has recognized this as a problem and has spent his entire career trying to fix it.

"The jobs we offer at Pick My Rollers are jobs you can really learn from," he tells HuffPost UK. "For someone to make a lot of money working in a business like this it does require a certain level of sophistication in manufacturing."

"I spent my time in manufacturing after leaving school and wasn't particularly good at it," he says. "It took me seven years to be ahead machinist and a bit more than that before I was offered management roles."

The strategy

Examples of Professionalism in the Workplace

Munro took over the business from his father in 2005 and recruited his cousin last year.

He is keen to create opportunities in the business for young people, but there's just one problem – the jobs simply don't pay enough.

Pick My Rollers has to compete with so many better-paying career paths for 18-year-olds and Munro knows that.

"We struggle to find people who are interested and able to stick it out at the job and follow the training courses we offer."

This year the firm has signed an apprentice who wants to become a mill operator and will be offering two courses to train you for the role.

Munro is hoping he can use this to become a full-time apprentice, but in the meantime, he is having to pay a wage that is considerably lower than £15,000.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Munro says the experience he’s gained himself is really valuable to his business.

"I'm comfortable with the types of technical things and manufacturing we do and that helps when trying to attract staff to the business."

"I was a customer of the business when I was younger and I've seen a change in the business from when I was growing up, and I've seen a change in the world of manufacturing, but I wanted to work in it.

It's hard for some people to get a job like this. I'm not going to accept it when a young person comes to me and says they can't afford it."

"I need to pay them enough to cover their costs and also pay for their apprenticeship, but it's really hard to do that if there isn't a decent standard of salary.

If someone says they want to work here and can't afford it, they don't last long."

The future

Signs You Will Be Laid Off

Pick My Rollers doesn’t rely solely on its workforce to succeed, so it must create a pleasant workplace that's beneficial for everyone.

"We have a team of advisers who advise people who come and ask us for help," Munro explains. "We use [them] to help young people out, but there are only so many people we can get on board and help them with the training. That's why the apprenticeship is so important."

For example, when the firm had a vacancy for an apprentice machinist, Munro posted a picture of it on social media and asked for applications.

"I saw one or two [applications], but we needed more to fulfill the role," he says.

"So I posted it on social media again and I started getting hundreds.

That went for two weeks, but then the big spike came in where we had hundreds of applications.

Some of them were 18 and 19-year-olds who thought they were too old to apply for the apprenticeship."

The company says there is a need for more young people entering manufacturing because manufacturers face a talent shortage.

It makes no secret of its desire to hire, especially when the minimum wage is increasing and more people need to earn enough to pay the bills.

However, it isn't easy. "Some employers don't like paying the apprenticeship, but we do. And, of course, there's the benefit of having a trained person in the company."

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