Work experience prepares teens for life

People who take part-time jobs during their teenage years are boosting their ability to succeed later in life, a new study has found.

Researchers at the UBC Sauder School of Business in Canada noted that many parents believe their children can do better than “flipping burgers” at a fast food outlet during the summer or evenings in term-time.

However, a study found even taking on menial tasks does have value, as it boosts their soft skills and gives young people an early insight into how to cope in the working environment.

Professor Marc-David Seidel, co-author of the research, noted that evening and summer jobs can also help people establish wider career networks and get better references, as well as hone their ability to find a job that suits them and their ambitions.

“Our research shows that working can offer educational and development opportunities that prepare adolescents for the real world,” he commented.

The benefits of part-time working were found to be particularly apparent if teenagers were employed during the school term, as it taught them to juggle different responsibilities and manage their time accordingly.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Jane Prince from the University of South Wales comments:

“The benefits for school students of having a part-time job go beyond the money earned. It is the case that the skills employers see school leavers as lacking are the ‘soft’ skills such as social interaction skills, teamwork and turn taking. Employers also note a need for resilience and the capacity to take personal responsibility for outcomes. Indeed employers state that these skills are frequently also lacking even in graduates.

“Resilience is the capacity to deal with adversity effectively – to take the rough with the smooth. It could be argued that lower-skilled jobs, such as working in a fast-food outlet, delivering leaflets or shop work, allow resilience to develop. The young person has to learn to deal with rude customers, aggression from others, even with just having to do something boring when the alternatives seem so attractive and these experiences facilitate the development of resilience.

“What work also gives the young person is the opportunity to take ownership of a task, including taking responsibility if mistakes are made. Missing a whole street when delivering leaflets and then having to go back to complete the missed work is hard, but the lesson learned in taking responsibility and in the necessity for preparation and planning is one which will be learnt for life.”

Read the full original article here.

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