In the UK, finding a job that will work well with the school holiday schedule can be a headache. Employment law has made it easier for workers to request flexible working patterns, but this does not always mean that an employer can accommodate working hours that fit in with the long summer holidays. Breaks for Christmas and Easter are much easier to cover than six weeks in the summer, let alone half term weeks and teacher training days.
However, there are plenty of employment opportunities which do fit in with the pressures of the academic year. When applying for work, it is always advisable to be upfront if you know that you will require time off to coincide with school holidays. Civil servant jobs are often the most sought after for people with child care commitments. Local authorities have a range of administrative jobs that offer job share and flexible working. Since the government’s spending cuts have come into force these jobs come up less frequently, but it certainly worth checking regularly with your local council for any that do. Another idea is to check out recruitment agencies online such as Office Angels which cater to office secretarial, admin and office assistant jobs which may be available part or flexi time.
There are a growing number of high street retailers that are focused on employing staff on part time contracts that are designed to assist working parents deal with childcare. You may find that retail work means you have to think about working on weekends from time to time, but it can be a good compromise if it allows you to be at home with your children in holiday periods. Retailers like Sainsbury’s, WH Smith, Mothercare and others all promote their ability to offer flexi-time working and compressed hours. If you have some retail experience it is likely an employer will want the benefit of your skills, even if you have to fit in with school breaks.
An obvious choice for work that fits in with child friendly hours is to work at a school. Teachers need post graduate qualifications in teaching to work in schools, but if you don’t have that, then think about other employment opportunities. School caretaking is a job that has most of the work based in term time. Some work will be needed in holiday periods, but you won’t have to commit to regular hours. Teaching assistant jobs work with the academic year and are great route into teaching, because it will test your mettle in the classroom. Other school based jobs worth considering are lunchtime assistants or working as a road safety officer, which all kids refer to as a lollipop man.
Depending on the ages of your children, none of these options may suit you. This can be particularly problematic if your children attend different schools which keep hours that differ and holidays that do not coincide. In such cases, self employment offers the flexibility you will need. True, it is hard to turn down work if you are self employed, but working for yourself means that you will have the peace of mind that you can make yourself available for your kids when they need you.