Person stacking shelves

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiter’s (AGR) survey of UK employers, half of them believe that graduates lack basic workplace skills.

In this morning’s interview with BBC Radio 4, Stephen Isherwood of the AGR stated that the most employable and workplace ready graduates are those that complete placement years in industry. Likewise, those that have had Saturday jobs are likely to be closer to meeting employer’s expectations too. Working in a supermarket whilst in Sixth Form or college for example can provide students with vital workplace skills.

This interview reminded us of a blog post we wrote a while back around the importance of Saturday jobs. It’s a bit of fun, but the underpinning message remains: young people must not ‘play down’ their work experiences and must reflect upon them toidentify the skills and things they learnt whilst doing them…

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  getting 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.

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!)
-And finally, bouncy castle inflator and supervisor

One employee described his early career title as ‘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!