Jobs by teenagers over the summer and beyond – paid job or volunteering

Jobs by teenagers over the summer and beyond – paid job or volunteering

After my son’s GCSE exams a few weeks ago, he asked me how to compose a CV as he is looking for job so that he can earn some money during the summer weeks. I was actually a little surprised that he was asking me, as he could at least have made a start by doing some research on the internet to see CV samples.

Of course, he had looked it up on Google, it’s just that he could not figure out what to put as job experience in his CV. I then suggested to him to put down teaching Maths to his younger sister as job experience. Despite the fact what we give him an extra £5 a week for helping his sister, he still does not consider that good enough to put on his CV so I had to remind him that he is only 16 and that will do fine. The other activity he could have listed is helping during school open day to take prospective families around.

There are so many potential benefits that working brings for teenagers, be it paid or unpaid employment. Let’s leave aside for now the money they can earn from the job, which at this time of inflation  can save us parents a few bob. Benefits range from strengthening university application to independence and time-management. Having said this, some of the benefits can also be a disadvantage – the money they earn from the work to be precise. Let’s stay positive and explore the pro first before we take a look at the cons.

With an ever increasing number of young people getting the top grades, job experience is often used by top universities to filter candidates for places on their courses. This is particularly the case on courses such as medicine, where there is a high demand, as so many candidates apply but universities can only admit a limited number. To be fair, some young people decide against studying medicine after they’ve done their work experience, as they’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand what the working environment is and the nature of what medics have to do, day to day in a real-life situation.

Many teenagers, like many adults without deep thoughts, see the money they earn from getting a job as the most important aspect. This is certainly not the case for the overwhelming majority of teenagers in Britain, as it is more about the experience and skills the idea of working brings for them. The summer holiday, in particular, provides an excellent opportunity to do some work – paid or unpaid and if only for a couple of weeks or more.

As mentioned briefly earlier, the money earned from getting a job can create a serious distraction for teenagers. This is mainly because they often want to work so they can buy more toys – such as computer games or clothes and so on. The thing is that they need time to play on computer games, smartphone or other gadgets they fancy. This is all fine during the summer holiday, as they have a lot of time on their hands, and it’s okay to spend their time on working and playing with their toys. The teenager gets into the habit of earning money from working and, then, not only are employers begging them to work for longer hours during the summer but also to work for at least a reduced number of hours a week when they go back to school.

Working to earn money distracted me from my studies, as if I had not spent so much time working, I would have spent more time on my studies and achieved higher grades. I have seen the same thing happening to so many teenagers these days.

I remember in the very early part of my own teenage years, transistor radios that allowed you to listen to FM radio stations were the cool thing and that was one of the main reasons to work. In the later part of my teenage years, I was working to pay for night clubs and clothes to keep up with fashion, so I could look good when I went to a disco! When mobile phones became popular in the early 90s, I was at university but also one of the first people to get a cell phone – which was the old Motorola flip phone.

I suppose, like anything, it’s all about getting the balance right, which is not always easy for us parents to have meaningful discussion that ends up influencing our teenagers positively, so they don’t spend too much of their time working. The fact that there is a drastic shortage of workers in the UK at the moment makes it easier for anyone to get a job.

On the whole, teenagers working during the summer holiday is a good idea, but needs to be managed well so it does not lead to working for long hours during school term time. My preference is actually for teenagers not to work at all during term time, if it can be helped.

In my next blogpost, I will explore the health and fitness side of things, with respect to teenagers working during the summer. Watch this space!