Government push to encourage and help young people get summer jobs welcomed
Esther McVey, writing in the Telegraph, said employment opportunities during the holidays can equip the next generation in a post-Brexit Britain with the “essential skills” to succeed.
With 20,000 summer jobs available, on Friday she also launched a dedicated portal and search tool for summer job applications on the Government’s job search website – Find A Job.
It comes amid a decline in the number of youngsters working whilst studying, and a drop in those taking on Saturday jobs – with the drive aiming to highlight the value of summer employment.
Lizzie Crowley, a skills adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, welcomed Ms Mcvey’s announcement and the campaign.
“I think it is absolutely essential that young people gain experience in the world of work whilst learning,” she told the Press Association.
She said many employers really value soft or employability skills in their employees.
“These skills are very difficult to develop if you haven’t had experience of the workplace,” Ms Crowley added.
“So for a young person that enters the labour market having had no experience of paid work… they are at a considerable disadvantage because they find it very difficult to be able to showcase those skill sets to employers when they come to interview stage.”
She said that especially during the school term, the types of jobs which are available to young people do not offer the hours or flexibility required.
“I think this is why Esther McVey’s idea of having a pool of summer jobs during the holidays is an excellent idea because it overcomes a lot of those barriers,” Ms Crowley added.
“It is a definite welcome intervention.”
Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said summer and part-time jobs help young people develop vital skills such as time management and customer service.
“Our experience is that schools and colleges are supportive of the value of this type of work as long as it is proportionate and doesn’t hamper students’ studies,” he said.
“However, it can be difficult for 16 and 17-year-olds to secure summer jobs and part-time work.
“A large number of university students also compete for this sort of employment, and the current economic reality means that there are many people who seek temporary and part-time work just to make ends meet.
“We are pleased that the Government is launching a summer jobs website as this will hopefully make it easier for young people to find suitable places.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said that despite the many benefits of a summer job, students now follow a more academic curriculum.
“With every subject being decided by high pressure end-of-year exams, it means that for many students, a complete break is what they need,” he added.
Mike Spicer, director of research and economics at the British Chamber of Commerce, also reiterated how employers value work ethic and soft skills.
“Young people that have meaningful encounters with the world of business make attractive candidates, and help to build a pipeline of work-ready talent for the future,” he said.
In the Telegraph, Ms McVey said the statistics show the percentage of youngsters working and studying has halved since 1997 – dropping from 42% to 18% in 2014.
She said: “This decline has seen a cultural shift, with young people increasingly focused solely on education and training before moving into the world of work.
“Yet, as we enter this post-Brexit era, I want to make sure that young people are as prepared as ever for the workplace and I want to ensure the merits of summer jobs are recognised.”
The Tatton MP said whilst she is not suggesting a summer job is a dream job for life, she firmly believes it is “connected to having a successful future”.
“It allows people to build on what are commonly known as ‘soft skills’ – but what I see as essential skills,” she said.