A reality trip down Memory Lane and, in stark contrast, a realisation that today’s young people live in a very different virtual-street community, was the inspiration for a mum of three to start an online jobs for teens portal.
Jobs 4 Teens provides a portal where businesses are able to advertise vacancies suitable for young people; it provides a central source of information for parents, including working directives for young people, and help young people gain secure and meaningful employment that is suitable for the age group.
Michelle Brickell from Reddish, who was brought up in community where everyone knew each other and where the children played out together, believes that today’s young people don’t enjoy the same early opportunity to socialise and gain experience in the work place as she did in her teenage years.
Earlier this week Esther McVey – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – said schoolchildren should get part-time jobs to help prepare them for the work environment. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Ms McVey said she did not think that teenagers were “lazy” but there had been a “significant decrease” in the number of teenagers working on a Saturday, unlike in her teenage years when Esther worked in a bistro.
She told the Daily Telegraph there had been a fall of up to 60% in the numbers of young people with weekend jobs which left many without the opportunity to develop the “soft skills” needed to get youngsters ‘work ready’.
“It’s about people understanding what a boss wants and what you want out of a job.”
In Michelle’s experience, there are huge benefits for young people who can develop an early work ethic and discover the benefits of earning their own money:
I was lucky to grow up at a time when Saturday jobs were the norm for young people, whether in the local hairdressers, corner shop, newsagents or café. At fourteen I could save my wages and buy my own clothes or make-up; it gave me a taste of independence and I quickly learned that work brought with it real rewards.
“I had a great relationship with my boss and I know he valued my efforts. It gave me the chance to mix with people of all ages, learn social skills and develop a degree of responsibility. I’m sure that this also helped me to better prepare for the working environment when I left education, something that I feel is often lacking in today’s younger employees but is not necessarily their fault.”
The High Street of 2018 looks very different from that in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s where many of the smaller, independently owned businesses have given way to larger, commercial organisations. But Michelle believes that there are still opportunities available and is launching a website to help businesses advertise vacancies and recruit young people.
“While my children were growing up I worked as well as looking after a home with my husband. We lived a comfortable lifestyle, nice house, cars and holidays and our children didn’t want for anything.
“But we wanted them to understand the value of working from an early age as my husband always had some sort of job earning his own money when he was younger too.
“From aged 13, our children were encouraged to find a paper round or something similar to gain that experience of having some independence, whilst earning money of their own and to appreciate what it takes to have things they want and not to rely on us to give them everything. So instil a good work ethic into them which turned out to be a very important thing for them in the years to follow.”
When Michelle’s daughter wanted a Saturday job, she struggled to find something; there are many informative sites on what teens can do at what age, hours, days they could work but nothing to actually find a job, which sowed the seed for Jobs4teens.
“Businesses were still wanting these young people but using more traditional advertising routes, such as placing the job ad in their shop window to find them. The internet plays such a big part in their lives that this became the obvious answer.
“Launched this week, the website is where teens and businesses in the local areas would go to find work and advertise job vacancies.
“My mission is to make jobs4teens.co.uk the site that any UK teenager can go to confidently and safely, making it a fun environment full of useful information about teens and what type of work they can legally do whilst still at high school and also for our older teens at college wanting to get a part time job to fit in around their studies.
“A fantastic job board that’s easy to use and full of jobs adverts from local companies looking to employ our young people, bringing the communities back together, giving them the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience, earn some money and obtain essential social skills needed for personal development and emotional wellbeing.”