Report says UK Teens Depend on Parents’ Connections for Job Experiences

May 24, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. network (n.) 
[net-wurk] – a group of people that are connected or related in some way
Example: He has a very large social network because he is very friendly.

2. placement (n.) [pleys-muhnt] – the act of giving or finding a position for someone (in a workplace, a team, a school, etc.)
Example: Because he was the university’s top student, his placement in the company was very fast.

3. biased (adj.) [bahy-uhst] – unfairly favoring (something or someone) over another
Example: The store gives biased service to rich customers.

4. outcome (n.) [out-kuhm] – end result
Example: Students with better grades became the outcome of the improved educational program.

5. impact (n.) [im-pakt] – a strong effect or influence on something
Example: Advanced technology has made a significant impact on the way communicate.

Read the text below.

Teenage students must not depend on their parents’ social networks to find work experience, says a report co-written by the UK Education and Employment Taskforce.

According to Brian Lightman, who wrote the report’s introduction, work experience is important for a young person’s future career.

Having work experience can improve young people’s chances of getting placements in universities. Teachers have also said students who come back from work experience become more serious with studies.

In addition, work experience makes a student understand the working environment and reduces the possibility of a teenager becoming a “NEET”—someone not in employment, education or training.

However, the report also says that half of the placements for work experience are found by teenagers with the help of parents and friends.

The report suggests this situation gives a biased advantage to well-connected families. Teenagers from jobless families, on the other hand, may not easily get work experience because their families have fewer connections.

The report recommends that a proper and fair work experience system be made so that students would depend less on the social networks of their friends and parents.

Lightman, who is also the head of the Association of School and College Leaders, adds that having work experience does not instantly leave positive impact on young people. He believes that work experience placements need careful planning for the students’ experiences to actually produce good outcomes.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Is work experience for teenagers also important in your country? Why or why not?
·         What do you think is the effect of having no work experience for a teenager?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people take advantage of their social networks to get jobs?
·         What are the positive or negative effects of hiring someone recommended by a friend or family member?


May 24, 2012