Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the number of child work permits have reduced.  The data shared by the  BBC, shows a steady decline in the number of young people working Saturday jobs in the past five years.

Quays News talks to people from the local community about their Saturday employment experiences.

Faith Smith, is from Manchester and works in the City, she shares memories of her Saturday job and employment Manchester Arndale Market.

Faith Smith worked at the Arndale Market as a teen.

“I grew up in Clayton as a kid, big council estate.  My mum worked on the Arndale market and when I turned 13 I got a job working on the market.

“I worked for a couple Tony and Sue, they were interesting, Tony had been a hairdresser in the 60’s and told me many a tall tale about knowing the Beatles, he’d also been a DJ which is where he met Sue.

“I wasn’t sure I was convinced about him knowing The Beatles and the likes of Jimmy Hendrix until he brought in loads of pictures of him out with them!

I loved my Saturday job, the stall I worked on was called ‘Headlines’ and we sold wigs and hair accessories.  He supplied wigs to Granada and we’d often get the Coronation Street stars drop by to pick up their wigs. I know imagine that now.

“We all knew each other on the market and I’d often cover other stalls when was needed. It really instilled a sense of work ethic in me, I learnt how to deal with people, handle money, stock take, stock buy (I’d often go to the wholesalers with Tony).

“One of the stalls I covered belonged to a guy who worked for Factory Records, ‘Somewear in Manchester’ and sold flares and trendy clothes that everyone loved back in the late 80’s early 90’s and quite often members of various bands stopped by.

“Looking back it was an era that would never be repeated and I loved every minute of it.

“The week before Christmas every year, my mum would let me stay off school and help out on the market!

“I think I earned £12 a day … going up to £15 at a later date.  I loved my Saturday job that much that when I left school I kept doing it, till I turned 21!

“My now 14 nearly 15 year-old would love a Saturday job, but everywhere tells him he’s too young.

“It’s a real shame, as he’d like to earn his own money and meet new people and I’d quite like him to experience life like I did back in the day”.

More opportunities for teens are needed.

Jessica Dobbs, 21 is a student at the University of Salford, she had a Saturday job when she was a teen, working as a waitress at a local golf club. Jessica said she learnt man skills such as “barista skills, customer service skills, handling money and using tills, and silver service.”

Jessica feels there needs to be a programme which helps young people develop employability skills, she told Quays News:

“I found it very hard to find a job when I turned 14, all employers previous experience when I applied, but how can a first time job seeker have pre experience?

“There needs to be a programme where young people can learn desirable skills like waitering, cleaning, and bar skills so when they apply for job, employers give them a chance”.

Steve Williams, 37, Sold curtains on the market. He worked Saturdays and help set up stalls, starting work at 6am 5 days a week. We asked what did he learn.

Steven said: “I learnt that I never wanted to work on a market stall when I left school. Which in turn made me work that bit harder.

“I also learned that to earn money you have to work hard.  I think this helped me understand the value of money.

“I think it would be great for teens to be given more opportunities to work and earn their own money.  Children need to develop their social skills. They have lost the power of communication without an electric device.  Having a job early in life will help them and develop their life skills for future jobs and interviews”.

Sarah Allen is from Connexions in Salford, the organisation provides support to young people aged 16-24 who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

She said; “We believe that Saturday/weekend jobs are very valuable to the young people of Salford because they enable the young people to improve their confidence, gain independence, build a profile of transferable skills, and also gain an understanding of what working life is like.

“Securing full time employment is increasingly competitive and work experience from weekend jobs is a great way to set the young person apart from other candidates and to instill a positive work ethic from a young age. Work experience is an investment into the young person’s life and future career prospects”.

Young people can Contact Connexions Salford for help with a CV, apprenticeship applications, finding employment and training: 0161 393 4500

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