Of course negative stereotypes about teenagers harm their job prospects. Most teens want to work

Research proves that many of today’s young people are actually engaged, motivated and desperate to get on

Share

Recently I met the chief of a large retail chain who told me that teenagers – his customers! – were “lazy, selfish, wanted to be famous without doing any work and wanted it all on a plate”. He’s still happy to make money out of them though.

He’s not the only industry leader to view today’s teens so harshly. Research published this week shows that persistent negative stereotypes about teenagers are harming their prospects of getting a job. According to think-tank Demos, teens feel their age group is unfairly represented and prevents them from getting work. It’s not just about long-term careers. Sixth-formers trying to fund their studies with part-time work and 16-year-old school-leavers keen to get their first proper job are also unable to find places that they once might have got. As a stereotyped teen might say, this is not cool.

Research proves that many of today’s young people are actually engaged, motivated and desperate to get on. Their passion is impressive, considering the odds stacked against them. The school system keeps changing; schools are underfunded and overcrowded. After seven years of chaos, many 18-year-olds still want to go to uni, go to work and give back to society. I can’t see many privileged industry leaders feeling the same way after all that. Like Mr Retail Chief, they have no appreciation for these teens’ tenacity or circumstances.

Let’s turn this situation around by joining the dots between education and industry. We need formal programmes where employers get into schools to understand and encourage young people. Teachers should broadcast pupils’ good work to businesses. Teens should present to chief executives and boards across the country to talk about their ambitions, their challenges and what they’re actually like. If you work and you care about this, get involved with the i’s Back to School campaign, which helps people from all trades and professions to return to their old state schools to give real-life career advice.

Oh, and kids – next time you fancy spending your cash on the high street, why not email the chief executive of your favourite shop first, to ask what they think about you and your peers? If they’re not giving you work because they think you’re lazy, you certainly don’t need to give them your money.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

 

Naturism criminalised: Why not being able to bare all is a bummer

Simon Usborne
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried