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The Saturday jobs that led to a career

For many young people a part-time job is a good way to earn some extra money and gain new skills.

However, figures show the number of children fitting a job around school has fallen by a fifth in the past five years.

We spoke to three people whose Saturday jobs opened the door to a career.

'A lifeline'

Image copyright Amy Kelly

Amy Kelly, from Gosport, Hampshire, started working at a salon when she was 15. She has been a hairdresser ever since.

For Amy, her Saturday job was "a lifeline" at a time when she was unsure of which career to pursue.

"I had done work experience in a lawyer's office and hated it, but I loved being in the salon," she says.

After a stint sweeping the floor Amy was taken on as an apprentice and trained to cut hair.

"It was hard going and full on but it was the best career I could have chosen."

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Amy feels that being exposed to the reality of working in a salon was a real benefit of working part-time while at school.

"I know people who went to college to study hairdressing and have given it up when they get to the salon. They don't know what it is really like. They don't know how to talk to people."

Twelve years after securing her Saturday job, Amy now trains young apprentices.

"It is good to be able to speak with experience of what it's like to be in their position."

'A happy accident'

Image copyright David Rickard

David Rickard, from Buckinghamshire, began working in a computer repair shop at the age of 15 after a work experience placement.

"I knew I was interested in computers, but had no idea how people ended up working with them," he says.

David spent three years at the shop building computers and fixing issues for customers.

"It taught me how to interact. I was much quieter and shy then, and having to deal with the public like that changed things."

He later applied for a position as an IT technician at the local university.

"I thought there would be no way I was qualified enough - I only had a Saturday job. But my experience got me the job and I worked my way up."

Reflecting on the benefits of working as a teenager, David says: " It taught me so much. It taught me how function in the work environment."

David points out that while schoolchildren may not be taking up part-time work, many young people are working and studying.

"I work at a university and lots of students juggle jobs and their studies. They work weekends and evenings just to afford to live."

'Easy to find the work'

Image copyright Naomi Tredrea

Naomi Tredrea, from Epsom, Surrey, took up a temporary Christmas job at John Lewis when she was 17.

"I was only meant to stay for two months but I was kept on, working weekends and school holidays," she says.

Naomi continued to work in the shop while at university. "The money supplemented my living costs, even leaving enough for me to go on holidays each year."

After graduating Naomi began looking for a new job. Her experience on the shop floor came in handy.

"I managed to get an admin job at John Lewis head office and stayed with the company for five-and-a-half years."

Now working as a civil servant, Naomi says she learned "valuable skills" which have been a "good stepping stone" in her career.

By George Pierpoint, UGC and Social News

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