By James Simons-
Esther Mcvey, The work, and Pensions Secretary, has proposed an idea for school children to work on Saturday in order for them to gain ”soft skills” necessary to prepare them for the work environment.
Esther McVey told the Daily Telegraph there had been a fall of up to 60% in the numbers of young people with weekend jobs.
She said that as a result many lacked the “soft skills” needed for work.
“What you’ve seen from the 1980s, particularly in this country, is far fewer people doing Saturday jobs and doing jobs after school,” she said in an interview with the newspaper.
“It’s about people understanding what a boss wants and what you want out of a job.”
She said the fall in Saturday jobs could partly be as a result of an increased focus on school work.
She added that as a consequence many youngsters did not have the skills required for the workplace – such as good timekeeping and the ability to detach from their phones.
Time keeping is a quality many youngsters don’t have. but there are also many pupils who have good time keeping. Good time keeping is a vital quality to have, but being able to be detached from your mobile phone for a period of time is also an additional strength. It conditions the mind to focus completely to the task at hand, without the distraction of a mobile phone. School pupils would usually not be required to stay away from their mobile phones for more than two hours at a time, before the conclusion of one lesson opens the window for a pupil to engage themselves with a friend or associate via their mobile phone.
This is why schools that ban mobile phones shouldn’t be criticised, their aim of instilling absolute discipline in their schools is ultra positive. Mcvey has an important point to make with her proposition, but we must also ask whether the academically competent pupil is not expected to need Saturday to benefit fully from the demands of a good education. Serious pupils may need Saturday to immerse themselves in the week’s work to get a sound understanding all round. Mcvey’s position excludes any responsibility for parents to financially sustain their children up until they finish their education. Unless her proposition for Saturday work takes no account of the pupils financial circumstances.
Comfortable parents will find it a pleasure to financially support their children in education, in order to maximize their academic development. Financially supported children may themselves need the soft skills they can develop from a Saturday job, but can’t they just develop that later if their parents are filling in the gap?
Children whose parents can’t afford to maintain the necessary support will probably benefit from a Saturday job and the skills they would develop to prepare them for the work environment. However, children from families capable of supporting them financially can only benefit from a Saturday job if the pay and prospect of the job will significantly add to the amount pupils are supplemented by their parents. Saturday jobs come with the benefits of nurturing pupils in a way that prepares them for work.
However, before we commit to Saturday jobs, let’s make sure the pupils are getting the grades in school, and also need the money a Saturday job would generate. Quality skills that prepare pupils for the work environment are important, but their educational development is also very important.
It may be a good idea to encourage pupils to pursue Saturday jobs, but this must not be done without bearing in mind the academic level and standard of each pupil considering Saturday work. The demands of school work in a good school will be high and pupils must be encouraged to rise to the demands and guarantee good secondary education to prepare a solid path for a variety of options.