News ID: 205547
Published: 0850 GMT December 04, 2017

Are Saturday jobs less popular among UK children now?

Are Saturday jobs less popular among UK children now?
ichef.bbci.co.uk

A Saturday job used to be a rite of passage for many children in the UK, but pressure to succeed at school and other factors means that's no longer the case.

The number of school children with a part-time job has fallen by a fifth in the past five years, new figures show, BBC wrote.

The findings come from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all local authorities across the UK responsible for issuing child employment permits.

Employers need to apply for a license to hire staff under the age of 16.

More than 140 authorities responded to the FOI with the numbers of permits issued in 2012 up to 2016, which showed a steady downward decline over that period.

Dr. Angus Holford from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex said he believed young people in compulsory education are fearful that a part-time job could hinder their performance at school.

"Teens are being told evermore that you need to get good GCSEs and A-levels to get a good job in the long term," he said.

"Passing the exams you need now is looming larger in people's concerns."

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "Properly regulated part-time work is a good way of helping young people learn skills that they will need in their working lives.

"It is vital that young people, and their parents, ensure that any part-time work they are undertaking leaves them with sufficient time for study and rest."

But the drop in children working part-time isn't just about academic pressures, it's also due to changing consumer habits.

One of the biggest drops in employment permits being issued was in Middlesbrough. In 2011, 101 permits were issued to 13 to 15-year-old children there, but in 2016 the number was just seven.

The council said the massive drop was due to a decline in the number of people in the area who had a newspaper delivered to their door.

Gareth Lewis, the chair of the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment, which sets guidelines and good practice for employers, said it was beneficial for children to have some form of part-time work.

"(This decline) is not something we have been made aware of … it is hard to see why there may be a trend."

Rachel, 13, works in a discount shop in Manchester. She said: "I enjoy my job because I'm earning money and it helps my confidence speaking to people and socializing with people I work with.

"I have to be quite organized with my homework, so I'll often do some at lunchtimes and then do the rest as soon as I get home from work."

Krishan started his first job at 15 working in a cafe in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. He has just turned 16.

"I really wanted to gain my own sense of independence and I thought that getting a job would be a good way to do that.

"I enjoy the sense of freedom it gives me because I'm able to make money as well as have free time to meet my friends."

   
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