Teenagers are being urged to find part time jobs on Saturdays, Sundays or in the evenings so they can pick up valuable work experience skills which will propel them in the workplace after leaving education.

Government ministers and UK businesses are concerned about the lack of work-ready young people in the pipeline, as the number of 16 and 17 year olds working in a part time job has plummeted over recent years.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, at the start of the millennium there were 431,000 young people aged 16 or 17 who were holding down a part time job while still studying. That equated to around 1 in every 3 youngsters in the age bracket who were picking up work experience and earning a bit of cash whilst still in education throughout the year of 2000.

Fast forward to today, just 14 years later, and latest figures show that a mere 233,000 young people aged 16 or 17 are now holding down a Saturday job or some other form of part time work in the UK.

So, in less than a decade and a half, the UK has seen the number of its teenagers working in a part time job fall from 30 per cent to current levels of less than 16 per cent. That means that only around 1 in 6 people aged 16 or 17 are now picking up work experience in the form of part time work. A rather worrying trend for the future skills set of the UK…

Teenagers Value Exam Results More Than Part Time Jobs

UK TeenagersOf course, we need to balance the fact that young people now face more exams, so studying for success in education could have become much more important to both the youngsters and their parents. With such academic pressure, setting off on a paper round or working a few hours in the local shop could be seen as a major distraction when grades are seen as the paramount way into university or the workplace.

However, ministers are keen to remind young people and UK businesses alike that a balanced approach to education and work experience – which can be achieved by complimenting academic success with some part time work experience – will lead to a much more employable pipeline of talent for the future.

Matthew Hancock, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, is one MP who had a part time data entry job when he was a youngster.

“It didn’t pay much but I stuck at it and valued the money it brought in all the more for the fact I’d worked hard for it,” said Mr Hancock of his Saturday work experience as a youth.

And, outlining why part time work is so important to the future of the youth of Britain – and to the future of the UK economy – Mr Hancock added:

“To make long-term youth unemployment a thing of the past we need Britain’s young people to have every opportunity. A paid job whilst you’re in school can go a long way with a prospective employer and makes it easier to get a foot on the career ladder. We want every young person earning or learning so they can fulfil their potential and build a better life for their families.”

Of course, one factor which might be skewing the ONS statistics is that the recession could have led to more experienced, older people taking on some of the part time vacancies which were traditionally filled by teenagers.

We help UK job seekers of all ages to find work on a part time basis – from teenagers to much more mature people who have a bit of spare time and bags of work experience behind them. Wherever you are based in the UK, and no matter what your age, we should be able to help you find the flexible hours you need to fit around the rest of your lifestyle.

Get started with a search for part time work in the UK now by clicking on the job categories to the right side of the page. Or browse flexible work across the whole range of sectors in your area by entering your town or city in the search box at the top of the page.