Rising Youth Unemployment – How You Can Help Your Children

There is much in the media about poor maths and English contributing towards the high and rising levels of unemployment for young people. Here is an article from BBC website published today.

However academic standards are not the only issue and may not even be the biggest problem. Nikki King, managing director of Isuzu Trucks, was guest of the day on BBC Daily Politics on 14 November. One of the things which Nikki said stopped her employing young people was their attitude to work. For example, they think it is OK to go for lunch and not come back afterwards.  Obviously this is only one person’s opinion, but if this opinion is stopping people getting jobs it is serious.  If this opinion is shared across industry, as it seems to be, then it is very serious.

So, in practical terms, what can you as a parent do to help your children.  It seems unlikely that every single young person will have the same attitudes so how can you encourage you children to stand out as different, someone any employer would be keen to hire.

It’s easy to forget that if an employer is advertising a vacancy, they want to fill it.  No employer (or no normal employer) wants to keep interviewing as this takes time which could be used elsewhere in the business to earn money.   So all your children have to do is get a prospective employer to think

This is the one for me.

Encourage them to be a giver not a taker.  Employment is, after all, about providing a service to another person or business.  Any prospective employer will be put off by someone who is focused on what they get, but will be much keener on a prospective employee who is focused on what they can do for their employer.

It’s never to late to learn skills such as maths and English.  Even if your children are good at these subjects they can improve.  If nothing else regular practice prevents getting rusty. You can help your children using the ideas

Employers seem to be looking for previous experience.  This is an indication that a prospective employee has been tried out by someone else and found to be useful and reliable.

How about a part time job whilst still at school?  Or volunteer for a local charity.

Alternatively why not encourage your children to start their own part time business.  There seems to be no end of people with chores to be done and not enough time to do them.

  • Cleaning
  • Ironing
  • Gardening
  • Baby sitting
  • Caddying at golf club
  • Delivering papers

None of these are new, I did some of these myself when a teenager.  They are unlikely to make anyone rich but should provide some pocket money.  Anyway the purpose is not to become rich but for your child to show a prospective employer that they have a record of being a useful and reliable employee.

If the business does make them rich that’s not likely to be a problem.  Warren Buffett started a business delivering papers which earned him around $175/month in the early 1940s (yes that’s $175 in 1940s money) when he was around 14!  He later used the money he saved to start investing in shares.

How about developing a skill such as

  • playing piano
  • playing tennis
  • playing chess

This is another way for your children to demonstrate they have the ability to learn and the  motivation to stick with it.

There’s no point in forcing someone to learn a skill if they’re not interested.  But having an interest says something to a potential employer.  Would you, as an employer, be keen on someone who had no interests?

Finally just encourage your children. Too many people settle for less than they hoped for, so if your children have a dream encourage them to follow it.