BEING PRODUCTIVE AS A YOUTH

IS IT WORTHWHILE TO WORK HARD DURING MY YOUTH OR SHOULD I ENJOY MY YOUTH INSTEAD?

If you pose the question as ‘play now and enjoy’ versus ‘work hard now and benefit later’, this is tricky question. That doesn’t mean to avoid stressful situations. It means to engage in life, but learn to worry as little as possible.

Being responsible means, ‘being able to respond’. If you’re all stressed out, you’re limiting your ability to respond. If you worry too much, it becomes a chronic condition, which deteriorates your mental and physical health, and your ability to work effectively.

Many people who appear to be ‘work hard’ are putting themselves through a lot of mental anguish which is not helping them achieve their goals or help others. It may make them feel important or righteous, but it’s not improving their outcomes.

If you learn to improve your mental state, things (e.g. studying) that might have seemed boring may become more interesting and engaging, i.e. less like work.

THE VALUE OF WORK EXPERIENCES

Work experiences are both paid and unpaid opportunities to work and practice career readiness skills. When work experiences are a part of supervised program sponsored by education or training organization that links knowledge gained at the worksite with a planned program of study, they are referred to as work based learning opportunities.

Work experiences are critical component of preparing youth for transition to adulthood. Potential benefits for youth who participate in work experiences including:

  1. Gaining career readiness skills including the “soft skills” that employers look for in entry level workers.
  2. Increasing one’s knowledge of specific occupational skills and work place settings.
  3. Establishing a work history and connections with employers that can aid in future job searches.
  4. Developing an understanding of different occupations in order to make informed career choices.

In addition, research studies suggest that work based learning may increase school attendance, decrease dropout rates, reduce school suspensions and increase school engagement.

While work experiences are beneficial to all youth, they are particularly valuable for youth with disabilities. One of the most important findings from the research shows that work experiences for youth during high school (paid or unpaid) help them acquire jobs at higher wages after they graduate. Also, students who participate in occupational education and special education in integrated settings are more likely to be competitively employed than students who have not participate in such activities.

COMMON TYPES OF WORK EXPERIENCES

Work experiences can take various forms including internships, summer jobs, youth run business/entrepreneurship, service projects and volunteer work and part time jobs. While some work experiences had to permanent, competitive and employment, even short time work experiences can be valuable as a way for young people to develop skills, contacts and awareness about career options.

Work experiences are a component of a wide range of youth programs including those that operate in schools and those in community settings such as youth workforce programs and disabilities service agencies. The most common types of work experiences provided by the Mobile Youth Nigeria

  1. Internships
  2. Summer jobs
  3. Youth run business/entrepreneurship
  4. Service projects and volunteer work
  5. Part time jobs

Across all the programs, six trends emerged regarding strategies for engaging youth in work experiences.

  1. Programs prepare youth for work experiences through training and guidance in soft skills.
  2. Some programs also train youth in technical skills, or hard skills, needed for specific career pathways or work settings.
  • Program staff devotes significant time to developing and maintaining relationships with employers.
  1. Programs clearly communicate what is expected of employers, youth and families before the start of work experience.
  2. Programs carefully watch youth to work experience opportunities based in individual interests and skills.
  3. Programs provide ongoing support to youth and employers throughout the work experience

 

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