Should schoolchildren have jobs?

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Should schoolchildren have jobs?

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The number of schoolchildren doing part-time jobs in the UK has fallen. Is that a good thing? Neil and Dan discuss the pros and cons of working while you're still at school.

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Neil Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Neil and joining me today is Dan who is a producer at BBC Learning English - that’s his job.

Dan Hi everyone… Yes that is my job, obviously - why are we discussing that now, Neil?

Neil Well you haven’t always been a producer at BBC Learning English, have you?

Dan No… I used to be a teacher.

Neil And before that? Way back - your first ever job?

Dan Ah, I had a paper round when I was 14. A paper round is a job - the job of delivering newspapers to people’s homes. It’s often done by teenagers.

Neil 14 seems very young to be at work. And that’s the topic of this 6 Minute English: Should schoolchildren have jobs? It seems fewer and fewer are these days, according to the statistics. We’ll give you 6 job-related words and expressions - and, of course, our quiz question. You Ready?

Dan You bet!

Neil What is the youngest age at which children are allowed to work in the UK?

a) 12

b) 13

c) 14

Dan Well, I’m going to say 14 just because that’s how old I was and it seems a long time ago!

Neil We’ll find out at the end of the programme. Let’s start by hearing some British teenagers talking about their Saturday jobs.

Dan A Saturday job is the name we give to part-time work that teenagers do for extra money. As the name suggests, these jobs often take place on Saturdays - but not always.

Neil That’s right - ‘Saturday job’ is general term we use to describe part-time work done by teenagers. The work might take place on Sundays or any day of the week, in fact! Let’s hear from these British children about their Saturday jobs.

Insert Vox We have to face all the stuff on the shelves and make it look organised and show customers where products are if they need to know.

On the average week I work nine hours, so two hours for two school nights and then I work four hours on a Saturday and two hours on a Sunday. And then in the school holidays I can work more.

Dan The first kid said the work involves making the shelves look organised. Shop work is a very typical Saturday job.

Neil Oh yes, I spent many a weekend and evening stacking shelves! The second teenager’s Saturday job takes place Saturdays, Sundays and evenings. As we said - A Saturday job’s not just for Saturdays.

Dan A Saturday job is seen almost as a rite of passage in the UK. A rite of passage is the name we give to events or ceremonies that form an important stage in a person’s life.

Neil That’s right - like graduating from school, or having children. But according to the latest statistics in the UK, that is all changing. Listen to this BBC report.

Insert BBC reporter In order to work, they need a permit from the local authority and our data shows the number being issued has fallen from nearly 30,000 permits in 2012 to just 23,000 in 2016. Employers frequently bemoan the lack of work experience young people have. But teenagers are also facing pressure not to take up part-time jobs and to concentrate on their studies instead.

Dan So, it seems that fewer teenagers are taking Saturday jobs. But there’s a conflict here.

Neil Yes, on the one hand, employers bemoan the lack of work experience young people have. Bemoan, meaning complain about. It’s a rather formal word.

Dan But on the other hand, teenagers are facing pressure not to take part-time jobs and to concentrate on their studies. Some people think working could be detrimental to a schoolchild’s academic progress.

Neil Detrimental - which means causing harm. It’s a tricky one, isn’t it? I think my Saturdays spend stacking shelves and serving fish ‘n’ chips taught me valuable lessons about working with adults and also managing my money. I don’t think it was detrimental to my education.

Dan Well, you managed to get a job at BBC Learning English! As for me, my paper round taught me the value of hard work. It didn’t hinder me. Hinder means to stop someone or something from making progress.

Neil Well let’s not talk too much in case we hinder our students … On to the answer to our quiz question. I asked this: What is the youngest age at which children are allowed to work in the UK?

a) 12

b) 13

c) 14

Dan I said c) 14.

Neil And I’m afraid you are wrong. You are allowed to work from the age of 13 in the UK. Exceptions to this rule include TV, theatre and modelling.

Dan Oh well - I guess I should have spent more time at school.

Neil Shall we have a recap of the vocabulary?

Dan Did you have a paper round as a kid, Neil?

Neil No I didn’t, but I did help my best friend James deliver newspapers - in return for a pound. Big money back in the 80s!

Dan Did you supplement your earnings with a Saturday job?

Neil I did. I had a Saturday job in a supermarket and also in a fish ‘n’ chip shop - but it wasn’t always on a Saturday. Free chips! Dan is that a wedding ring on your finger?

Dan Yes it is. Marriage is a rite of passage in many cultures. It is an important stage in a person’s life - talking of which, are those your kids on your screensaver?

Neil Yep - having children is another example of a rite of passage. See how tired I look!

Dan Do not bemoan your lack of sleep! Bemoan’s a quite formal way of saying ‘complain about’.

Neil I think it’s OK to bemoan my lack of sleep - it can have a detrimental effect on my health.

Dan Detrimental - meaning harmful. As long as your tiredness doesn’t hinder your work on 6 Minute English

Neil Well, I’d never let anything hinder - meaning stop from making progress - 6 Minute English.

Dan I admire your dedication! Goodbye!

Neil See ya!

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