Why a part-time job could be good for your teenager

Reading time: About 4 mins

As a parent, you might worry that part-time work will distract your child from studying. But a job can have lots of benefits.

Your child could:

  • Develop their skills in teamwork and timekeeping
  • Get a reference from their employer when they apply for jobs and courses in the future
  • Earn extra pocket money

Careers adviser Graeme Barrett says ‘Part-time work is a great opportunity. It gives them an understanding of the rules of the workplace and teaches good timekeeping, reliability, responsibility and working as part of a team. It also helps to build their confidence.

'Some young people build a career out of their part-time job.’

So what can you do to support your child if they’re looking for a job?

1. Help them find opportunities

Vacancies for young people looking for part-time work are mostly in:

  • Shops
  • Restaurants, cafes or fast food outlets
  • Admin
  • Call centres
  • Hairdressers

There are often seasonal opportunities in the summer or at Christmas, when some young people find jobs helping at parties and functions.You can help your child look for jobs through the Getting a job search.

Sometimes hitting the high street is the best way to find something.

Janie Campbell’s 16-year-old daughter Kiera got her part-time job at a hair salon by asking in person. Janie says, ‘Both her and a friend walked for miles, just asking people in hairdressers, cafes, and chip shops if there was any work.’

2. Encourage them to network

Graeme explains, ‘Parents can help young people to get a part-time job through the contacts that they have. Some can find part-time work in their own workplace or through friends and family.’

Networking should start with your child’s curiosity about an area of work and begin with contacts across family, friends and work. 

Sit down with your child to identify people in their networks. Make a list of people you know, including friends, family and neighbours. Note down where they work, and what they do. That should give you some ideas. 

Try to think about:

  • Which sectors or organisations would your child like to know more about?
  • Who do you know, and who do they know, who is doing an interesting job?

Once you’ve identified a few people who could help, your teenager can get in touch. They may be able to let them know about vacancies which are coming up, or introduce them to the person in charge of hiring new starts. 

Careers coach John Lees says, ‘It’s interactions, not emails, that stick in people's minds. Even in a buoyant market employers fill jobs through word-of-mouth, and in a tough market it’s the method of choice because it’s free and effective to talk to people you already know.’

Once they’ve got a job…

3. Help them plan their schedule

It's important to make sure that school work still comes first. 

Help them come up with a plan so they can manage their time and fit in studying, school, work and the other things they like to do such as sport, and seeing friends or family.

If your child is struggling to fit in schoolwork and a job then it’s a good idea for them to discuss it with their employer. There may be an opportunity for them to take a study break or for someone else to cover their shifts for a while.