Research has shown that the majority of school students combine full‐time education with part‐time employment. To date educationalists have paid little attention to this, in part due to the negative views about the ‘quality’ of such work and its effect on educational attainment. In this research, a case study approach is used to explore the potential range and breadth of activities carried out by such employees. A range of alternative data‐gathering techniques were used including event recording and work place observations. The findings highlight between job and within job category differences and suggest that many jobs are demanding and can result in skill attainment. The results are discussed in the context of debates about the potential educational value of such employment experiences.