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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Dom Joly owns a pig. That thinks it's a dog.  

I'll bow out. Let Wilbur, the pig that thinks it's a dog, bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
 

Forget charging by the page - with books, heart matters more than heft

Katy Guest
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'