Esther McVey: More teenagers should take holiday and Saturday jobs to prepare them for later life
More teenagers should take holiday and Saturday jobs rather than focusing on education and training, according to Esther McVey.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said a "drastic" decline in the number of young people doing part-time work was leaving them ill-prepared for later life.
She made her comments as the Government put 20,000 summer job vacancies on its website in a bid to encourage youngsters to enter the job market.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Ms McVey said: "Everyone has to start somewhere and these first job experiences can have the most impact. It won’t necessarily be your ideal one but it’s a step towards finding out what you actually want to do.
"Getting different experiences, and trying new things, can be just as important in finding out what you don’t want to do, as it is what you do."
Official figures show that since 1997, the proportion of 16- and 17-year-olds with a part-time job has slumped from 42% to 18%.
Ms McVey said that was because young people were "increasingly focused on education and training solely" rather than taking the chance to earn some extra money.
She said that part-time jobs should "complement, not compete with, education".
The minister added: "I’m not suggesting a summer job is a dream job for life. But I firmly believe it is connected to having a successful future. It allows people to build on what are commonly known as 'soft skills' – but what I see as essential skills.
"They can help people develop their customer service and problem-solving skills, build their resilience and attitude to work, as well as improve time management and the ability to juggle different priorities. You can see the demands that exist within a workplace and, indeed, get an understanding of what is expected at work."