THE Isle of Wight Council says it is aiming to raise awareness of child employment legislation to ensure children engaged in part-time work do so legally and safely.

Businesses employing children between 13 and 16 years old are being reminded they must obtain a work permit from the council to comply with employment laws.

Children who are already 16 but still in Year 11 at school will require a permit until they reach compulsory school leaving age, which is the last Friday in June.

Work permits are free of charge and valid for 12 months from date of issue.

Employers are required to complete a risk assessment of the work the child will be doing, which should be shared with the parent/guardian.

Dean Thistlewood, the council’s education and inclusion team leader, said: “The welfare of children is paramount and if they are taking part in part-time work opportunities, we (must) ensure their needs are met by employers and that children who work are doing so safely.

"Our officers regularly visit businesses across the Island to make sure young people in part-time jobs are safe and working legally.

"For a young person, getting a job and earning money is an exciting first step into the adult world and we, as a local authority, aim to support and safeguard them."

Children aged between 13 and 16 years old can take part in light work in areas including newspaper deliveries, shop work, office work, working in cafes or restaurants and Island tourist attractions.

Cllr Debbie Andre, cabinet member for children's services, education and skills, added: "Taking on a part-time job while studying can have many benefits for our young people, such as giving them training and developing skills they can take into future employment.

"However, we need to balance this with ensuring their studies are not adversely affected by working outside of the hours and activities prescribed by law and that there are the necessary safeguards in place to ensure they can work safely.”

Details on child employment and work permit applications can be found online.