Recently I attended an event to give out awards to celebrate the long service of staff. It was for staff who had been with the organisation for 20, 30 and in one case 40 years. As each person receiving an award spoke about the roles they had undertaken during that time, one theme emerged very clearly – they enjoyed their work.
It made me reflect on jobs I have had over the years. I identify with the view that the ones I enjoyed most were not necessarily for the salary, but were the ones that gave me personal satisfaction.
So what of our current young people, aged 16 who are about to embark on a new chapter or new direction? How will they eventually achieve job satisfaction?
Age 16 is somewhat of a watershed for a variety of reasons. For some, future training or study is still uncertain. Where to undertake that further training or study may also be under consideration as young people do have choices. Being presented with a range of choices can and should help the decision-making process, but often it is other factors that come into play. For example, where are my friends going, what do my parents I do, what have my teachers advised, who else have I have spoken to about future aspirations? At 16 the world of work may still appear to be something for the future but preparation has to begin at a much younger age.
Ensuring employment for young people should be the prime goal for all involved in education from early years through primary and secondary stages, further and higher education.
This does not mean everyone is a careers expert but it should mean everyone has an interest in the future of young people, their employment opportunities and the skills required – interpersonal/social skills, verbal and written communication and the ability to use numbers to an acceptable standard. The use of information technology is now grounded in all that we do – embedding skills to think, adapt and be flexible are now more than ever essential to employers in most professions, careers or jobs.
Achieving job satisfaction then is something that must start with a job. Preparation for that comes in many different forms, it may be specialised training, university, or by apprenticeship. Expectation and aspiration are key components for overall success in an increasingly competitive employment market. Therefore, orientation to the world of work and the skills, attitude and ambition required have to be started at a young age. For some gaining employment will be difficult but it still remains vitally important for young people to have employment opportunities so their future economic status is not compromised.
This responsibility lies with all those involved in education, families/carers and employers – our job satisfaction will come from knowing we have played a role in helping others to achieve employment and then we can say – a job, well done.
* Bonita Hodge, Deputy Principal, Doncaster College