Young Employees

617,000 young people aged 16–24 were unemployed in March-May 2016, down 13,000 from the previous quarter and down 105,000 compared to a year ago.

Twenty years ago youth unemployment was reaching nearly seven figures. Whilst I can’t talk from personal experience (I was still 8 months away from being born) from what I gather if you were 16–20 it wasn’t that easy to walk into the city and get an opportunity at a big company.

The Intern

Internships get unnecessary bad press. Some people see internships as “exploiting young workers”. On the contrary without these opportunities young adults would struggle to get placement in their chosen professions.

Internships often get labelled as “working, without being paid”. However in many cases the remuneration is not just financial. Obtaining experience with real clients in real situations can have more long term value.

The Apprentice

As you may have seen from my other blogs, people trend to label apprenticeships with “do it if you want to be a chippy”, but it’s not the trades anymore. Apprenticeships cover EVERYTHING!

Unlike most internships, you get paid to go to work and paid to learn. The tuition is generally via remote access or day release, but in all honesty I learn more day to day from working with other team members and working on real projects. At the end you come out with a qualification (in my case a City & Guilds) and I was asked to stay on with the guys at Ecce Media full time.

Young employers and team members, be they interns or apprentices are a valuable addition to any business, providing a young & enthusiastic perspective on things.

But don’t just take my word for it. I spoke to Tom the Editor in Chief at the online menswear company Idle Man http://theidleman.com/ about the benefits of young team members .

1. Has having a young professional on your team benefited you?

Whenever you’re running a business or managing a team it’s good to have a mixture of people, both older and younger. This gives you a different perspective of things whenever you have a problem, as one person may feel one way whereas someone else may feel different.

Personally, my team is very young, with the oldest being only 25 because as a business, our customer and who we market to are people of similar age. Whenever we’re writing a new piece of content or have any ideas relating to the blog we alway have to keep our customer in mind, and my team know who our customer is and what we should be looking for.

2. Do you feel like young professional’s bring a fresh approach to the team?

Again, it’s a mixture. You have to have a mixture of both to create a well balanced team. The editorial team may be young, but the rest of the team as a business is a bit older than ourselves, so they may have different feelings towards certain things.

An older member of the team probably has more experience in certain areas where a younger member doesn’t, so you have to have a balance to create a functioning business.

3. After having a intern or apprentice are you likely to take them on full time?

Yes, providing that their level of work and commitment are up to par with the company and the company’s standards. If you have a willingness to learn, be a part of the team and work hard, you can make it anywhere in life.

4. Is investing time and resources into young employees worth it in your opinion?

Nurturing someone from start to finish is definitely worth the time as you can understand levels of commitment and get to know the person fully. Growing in a business is definitely something that I can appreciate, as I started as an Editorial Assistant and worked my way up to becoming Editor, so nurturing someone and investing in them is definitely worth it.

5. Are you going to continue taking on young employees in the future?

Yes, age isn’t a massive thing for me personally, as long as they have the experience and willingness to learn then that’s all I need to know.

I also took some time to speak with Frank Whitford the owner of independent urban retailer Plain Bear (https://plainbear.co.uk), about young people in the workplace — this is what he had to say:

1. Has having a young professional on your team benefited you?

It has in the sense of image. I have a young to mid age demographic and this keeps with the appearance. The fact they are more flexible gives me more freedom with their hours.

2. Do you feel like young professional’s bring a fresh approach to the team?

They have added ideas but generally do not understand concepts very well and also cash flow (thinking that because i have a business, i have money).

3. After having a intern or apprentice are you likely to take them on full time?

If I did have one, most likely as they know how the business works and have personally seen them working hard for free….how hard would they work when paid!

4. Is investing time and resources into young employees worth it in your opinion?

I would say yes, if you know their heart is set on the business long term game. I would like someone to grow with the business and rise up through the ranks as they would know it inside out like myself and understand what is needed and how we can go about getting it.

5. Are you going to continue taking on young employees in the future?

Always

So ..

Businesses want and need young employees, it’s not that they have experience, but they come with enthusiasm, passion, insight and energy.

So people like me — get yourself out there, if you don’t want to go to university then find something that you like and enjoy doing, by any means get a foot in the door (as an intern or an apprentice). When your mates graduate you will be 4 years into a career and (If you choose an apprenticeship) you will have been paid for it.

If you’re a business young people are the future, investing in them now will benefit you in the long run.

Special thanks to:

Tom — Idle Man (http://theidleman.com/)

Frank — Plain Bear (https://plainbear.co.uk/)

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