According to recent research, the number of young people aged 13-15 with a part time job has fallen by a fifth in the past five years alone. Permits are required to employ teenagers in this age bracket and the number of those issued has steadily decreased since 2012, across a huge 140 local authorities.
Although there could be several reasons for this, trend experts have stated that teenagers are being pressured to achieve good results in exams in order to gain a good job in the future. Which is ultimately discouraging teenagers from pursuing part time work alongside their studies.
The decline in teenagers having part time jobs has led to some concern. A 2015 study by the UK Commission on Employment and Skills found that young people who did not participate in part-time work during their school years were ill-prepared for full-time employment. The study also reported that this had negative implications on their productivity.
Is part time work beneficial to young people?
More out of curiosity, rather than any specific research experiment, we decided to ask the TWI team about their Saturday jobs and whether they felt they were a positive choice during their teenage years:
Katharine – Head of Brand & Insight
When I was younger I provided arts and crafts therapy for the mentally disabled. I learnt to be tolerant of differences; it helped me develop coaching and mentoring skills; and I learnt how important being punctual and reliable is, especially when other people are depending on you.
Emma – Copywriter
I worked as a Claim Handler for a mobile phone insurance provider. I was based in an inbound customer service environment, and spent my time assessing claims and dealing with requests. I learnt a lot during my time working in this department –one being that when proximity is removed people can be really rude and demanding, and the other being that people will lie to cover their tracks. I had many people calling up claiming on devices that they were calling on! I found working alongside full-time education beneficial and a good way to gain new skills. The environment I worked in definitely made me more resilient today, and this has worked to my advantage in certain situations.
Maddie – Project Executive
My first job was working at a children’s indoor play centre called Hullabaloo. I think it taught me really basics things, the importance of turning up to work on time, that by being part of team that’s doing well means everyone has to share the load and take responsibility. I hate to say it as well but it is character building; working and then seeing money going into your account each month. It gives a sense of purpose and develops ideas around accountability.
Lois – Researcher (Brand & Insight)
Since turning 16 I always had a part time job, most of the time I juggled two jobs as well as full time education. Starting from a paper round, Argos, working on the phones for a research company, lifeguarding and working as a weekend receptionist.
I think having these jobs and the responsibility to balance my workload and free time gave me a real insight into working life, so when I did get my first full time job, I knew what to expect and was fully prepared. It’s important for teenagers to learn the value of money from an early age. It definitely helped that the companies I worked for were very understanding of my education needs and with most of them being zero hour contracts, I was lucky to have that flexibility. I don’t think there is any excuse for teenagers not to have part time jobs, they have to begin to experience the working world sooner rather than later.
Peyman – Motion Graphic Designer
My first job was at Next when I was 16, I worked 16 hours a week around college. I also worked at H.Samuel and at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver until I was around 19, then I went to university.
I learnt how to manage my time and it taught the value of money. It also helped me to learn how to deal with people and management. I think it’s a positive thing to have a part time job early on, otherwise you don’t understand the true value of hard earned money, and it becomes a shock when you then get a proper job.
Bex – Lead Consultant – (Brand & Insight)
I worked at Clinton Cards every weekend and some evenings while I was in Sixth Form. I think there were a lot of positives having a part time job, it gave me an income, and some independence from my parents at a fairly young age. It also taught me a lot about working with the general public, and also that retail wasn’t the sector for me in the future.
Anthony – Frontend Developer
My first job was when I started college at 16, I worked for my dad’s mate who is an electrician for about 6 months and then worked for Burton’s in the suit department.
If I didn’t work whilst at college or University I would have had no money to go out at night or buy things that I wanted, it made me appreciate the value of money and also how to manage my time as I had to work late shifts and weekends. I also gained more confidence working in Jessops as I was on the shop floor assisting people.
From the Talent Works team, it’s a resounding yes- having part time work when you are a teenager is a positive thing. Having a part time or Saturday job teaches you skills you wouldn’t necessarily learn at school or college. These skills include time management, responsibility, resilience, working as a team and problem solving.
Gaining these transferable skills helps you once you begin full time work too. When starting a full time job there are lots of new things to learn and understand so it helps to have the basics pinned down, allowing you to focus on the important things and the company specific culture and values.
Being able to successfully hold down a part time job whilst studying is a challenge, but it can be extremely rewarding. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter.