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July 25th, 2022

developing transferable skills at a young age

July 25th, 2022

1min 57sec read

There is evidence linking a young person’s early exposure to employment and later employability.

I was 14 when I got my first job.

I worked a couple of nights a week as a kitchenhand at a Cheesecake Shop – sweeping floors, cleaning equipment and unpacking deliveries.

It wasn’t a glamorous job and didn’t pay particularly well; I am grateful for the things I learned in that workplace.

I learned about respect for my employer and my co-workers. I learned about work ethic, attention to detail and customer service. I learned about workplace culture, workplace dynamics and teamwork.

There are a variety of opinions out there about this, but I am an advocate for kids doing a bit of paid work while still at school. I believe there is no substitute for young people learning that money doesn’t grow on trees and must be earned.

A job is a privilege that ultimately creates independence and self-worth.

There is evidence linking a young person’s early exposure to employment and later employability. Factors such as whether a young person’s parents worked, their family’s attitude to work, or whether they were required to complete chores to earn pocket money are all sighted as influencers on later employability.

Today, employers consistently report that transferable skills such as work ethic, attitude and customer service are the traits they most desire in new hires.

These employers are willing to train skills but report that candidates often lack essential employability traits. Traits that can be best developed by completing some form of work experience or work exposure.

Recently The Personnel Group launched its new Pathway To Work program, a capacity building, work experience-focused initiative where participants develop the traits employers are calling for.

This program is funded by the NDIS and involves a combination of classroom learning, employer interaction, and work experience. Despite being in its infancy, this program is already getting some extremely positive results in preparing school-aged participants to engage positively with work and the labour market.

I feel much more proactive work can be done to improve attitudes towards employment at a young age. We must, of course, develop strategies to address people experiencing long-term unemployment, but concurrently a preventative, early intervention approach is equally needed.


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