According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), the number of 16 and 17-year-olds working while studying has more than halved since 1996.
Only one in five has a part-time job while in college or doing A-Levels.
The pressure of exams and coursework alongside a lack of opportunities are what students put their reluctance to work part-time down to.
But when graduate employers are not necessarily looking for a flawless academic record but for evidence of where skills have been put to use, Saturday jobs are equally as important as passing exams.
Having a part time job is not just about having something to stick on a CV; it’s about gaining independence, having responsibility, improving time management and just getting a bit of an insight into what the world of work looks like. It shows employers that the candidate has experience of adapting to situations and has some extracurricular proof that they can demonstrate the skills listed on their applications.
We often interview graduates who play down their waitressing or bartending experience at the local village pub in favour of talking about their first class assignments. But in fact, waiting on tables is an excellent example of customer service, dealing with problems (surely there was at least one customer complaint!), working in a high pressure environment, working in a team and having to think on your feet.
A part time job also provides some productive distraction. Endless revision and incessant studying is draining, demotivating and tiresome. Taking a break now and again helps refresh and reengage the brain. Finding a healthy balance is important. And on top of this, it’s a chance to earn some money and meet new people.
After reading about this research, we did a bit of digging to find out what kind of Saturday jobs Discovery employees had when they were teens. Some of the findings were a little unusual to say the least!
The most popular roles included waiting on tables and having a paper round – some even getting up before school to deliver papers hot off the press.
Some of the more unusual roles included:
- Working in a Christmas pudding factory (where Sarah was in charge of brandy measurements!)
- Working in the designer jeans department at Harrods (Jane measured up Anthea Turner for some new denim)
- Bra fitting
- Granny sitting
- Dog walking
- Sugar beet collecting
- Lab assistant (cleaning up explosions)
- Junior salon assistant (Joey, naturally brunette, insists he doesn’t regret his bleach blonde hair phase)
- And finally, bouncy castle inflator and supervisor
Our chairman, Richard Boot, informed us he was once a ‘Lifestyle & Fitness Coach’ – what this lavish job title actually translates as is that he collected money for the sunbeds on Southsea beach!
Whatever the job may be, there will always be something to take from it. Whether that’s a new skill, a new friend, a new way of dealing with challenging situations or simply the realisation that you never want to do said job ever again!