Give youth a chance to surprise you

DO not write off young people because of their inexperience, employers are urged. You may be missing out on a Richard Branson or Alan Sugar. Connexions, Cambridgeshire County Council s teenage support service, believes some employers are reluctant to offe

DO not write off young people because of their inexperience, employers are urged. You may be missing out on a Richard Branson or Alan Sugar.

Connexions, Cambridgeshire County Council's teenage support service, believes some employers are reluctant to offer young people jobs because they are worried that they will be unreliable or inexperienced.

Lesley Keal, employer services team leader at Connexions, said: "There are lots of negative stereotypes when it comes to teenagers in the workplace. But what teenagers lack in experience they can more than make up for in enthusiasm, energy and a fresh perspective."

To help young people get a foot in the door of employment, Connexions, launched in 2002, offers a free job placement service, which works like a mini recruitment agency. Employers in the area give Connexions details of their job vacancies. These are placed onto a database and onto the Connexions website www.purplepigeon.com and are matched to potential candidates.

Young people can also discuss jobs that may be suitable for them with a Connexions personal adviser. The job placement service can save employers considerable time and money compared to traditional recruitment via advertising or agencies, say Connexions.

Lesley Keal added: "Some people may think it is a risk to take on a teenager. It's actually a risk taking on any new member of staff. But isn't taking calculated risks what business is about?

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"These youngsters are the future for the UK workforce. Some of them may even be the next Richard Branson and Alan Sugar. If we don't give them the chance to prove themselves, we may never find out."

CONTACT: If you have a job that may be suitable for a young person, the Connexions employer services team is on 01480 375603.

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