Too many of my son's friends don't want to do voluntary work because they don't get paid.They have yet to gain the maturity to understand the experience they would be acquiring. I even spoke to a mum whose daughter had completed her A levels and found a very good apprenticeship telling me that her daughter was only being paid the 'minimum wage' as though somehow her employer was being fraudulent.
My son has always had a different outlook.Perhaps we inadvertently fed him our ideas although I think much is down to his personality. He grabs opportunities with confidence and creates his own 'luck'.
At the age of fifteen he was asked if he could help at our local kennels for a week whilst one of the walkers was on holiday.Every day he was up at 7.30am and back again at 4.00pm without a moan or a groan and came back with stories of all the dogs he'd met and what he'd learned.As far as he was concerned he was doing it for free to help out the owner.At the end of the week he came out smiling from ear to ear and a wad of five pound notes in his hand.He'd earned his first wages and he hadn't expected a penny! In 'Rich Dad Poor dad' it says you work to learn,not to earn and it resulted in my son's first job and later a great reference when he started to work full time.
From a weekend job he was then offered an apprenticeship after he left school with our local council.He had intended to go to college full time but he applied for this apprenticeship 'for practice' and was offered the job! This job paid for driving lessons and car insurance and gave my son the independence he needed. It was also a valuable lesson in how ineffective management and lack of knowledge in current health and safety legislation can have a negative impact on the morale of the work force. As a first experience of an Apprenticeship the whole experience had the potential to have a very negative impact on a conscientious and hard-working sixteen year old whose endeavours to use initiative and creativity were thwarted at every corner because of a deep rooted fear of change.It in fact gave him a huge insight into the lack of accountability, complacency and money wasting going on within local government. His first introduction to Politics!
And so it was necessary to cut away dead wood and negativity, brush himself down and move on. He began completing application forms and received a phone call from the recruitment company asking him if he would consider another,higher profile apprenticeship which hadn't been advertised? Of course he would!
He was interviewed,asked to see the workshops ( a lesson learned from his last job and health and safety experiences) and to speak to someone who had already done the apprenticeship. It seems his prospective employer were impressed.He had never been asked that before and so my son ended up one morning with two offers of employment on the door mat and having a choice to make!
He chose Lake District Audi and has experienced first hand what a difference effective management and private enterprise can make. He has a full time mentor, proper protective equipment without having to wrangle because of cost, and he is just about to embark on his next adventure - an Audi Induction course at Milton Keynes.
And for anyone interested he is still on an Apprenticeship wage (but no longer the minimum) but he has learned so much about working as a team,motivating your work force and looking after employees (he has a Christmas dinner coming up)
No work experience is ever a waste.Paid or unpaid, look for learning opportunities and new opportunities will come along too! And for the little ones who aren't quite there yet, why not try the games on Rich Kid ,Smart Kid which are aimed at introducing children to managing finances. The sooner they start the better!