There’s a whole world of work out there, but sometimes for young people the toughest thing is knowing where to start. Why should I get a job? Where are the opportunities? How do I get my foot in the door?
There‘s no doubt the past couple of years have been tough. COVID has exacerbated the barriers already facing many young people. But getting a job while young can help build the skills that are foundational to any job and relationship.
A work opportunity shifts your focus to the difference can you make. You can see the connection between actions and tangible outcomes – often immediately in the real world. This builds a sense of purpose and connection to community in new ways, and shapes future thinking.
Employment can also help you develop the ability to communicate with people all ages. If you haven’t been involved in a club of some sort, the workplace is somewhere you can learn to communicate, learn to read different people, and get exposure to diversity across age, language, ability, culture, religion and socio-economic statuses. Then there is the stability and security that comes with having a job. Employment demands responsibility, but also provides financial rewards.
So where to start the search? The best opportunities for first jobs for teenagers are often in the retail and hospitality sectors. Supermarkets, cafes, fast food outlets and big retailers all present opportunities for that first position, whether in a casual, part-time or full-time capacity. Big employers, particularly, will provide training and structure to teach you the basics of regular work.
- Big retailers
- Fast food outlets
The best way to find these jobs is to use your networks. There’s a good chance a parent, relative or friend will know someone with a connection to a business. Social media also offers potential leads, with many positions advertised on Facebook or LinkedIn, while conventional job sites such as Seek will advertise many roles.
The other big avenue for young people to explore is apprenticeships and traineeships. These are schemes where you are paid to learn, unlike a university degree, but still end up with a nationally-recognised qualification. There are opportunities to complete a three or four-year apprenticeship in a range of trades from construction to hairdressing. Traineeships run for one or two years and tend to cover vocational jobs, such as office administration and IT.
At CVGT Australia we also offer programs such as YConnect and Transition to Work, where young people are supported to build their skills and confidence before entering the workforce. There is help available to develop your resume or practice for job interviews.
We can also provide support, sometimes in partnership with other agencies, if you’re struggling with illness or injury. We understand that young people are complex, and need additional support, the right environment, with a caring employer – who first and foremost, wants to support and grow your skills.
This support can be crucial because employers have expectations of staff. You will be expected to turn up to shifts on time and consistently, to listen and learn, to show initiative and act in a professional manner.
The benefits of taking on this challenge, learning and adapting to work, are enormous. Get your foot in the door, learn new skills and gain some independence. If you need support getting started, CVGT Australia is here to help.