Young People at Work

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Who is a young person?

A young person is anyone under the age of 18 although this can include anyone up to the age of 24. Introducing young people to the world of work can help them understand the work environment, choose future careers or prepare for employment carrying through these early lessons right through their working life.

Young people need to be offered opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience across the world of work. Like anyone joining a new workplace, young people face unfamiliar risks from the job they will be doing and from their surroundings. Young people are at a higher risk because:

  • They lack experience; with limited skills and training and little or no knowledge of their employee rights and responsibilities.
  • They are unaware of existing or potential risks; often with little or none knowledge of what risks look like and the effect they can have.
  • They lack the maturity, often not having the confidence to speak out.

Statistics show that 18 to 24 year-olds are more likely to have a serious accident at work than older adults.

Poor working conditions leading to the development of occupational illnesses while still young or later in life having their working life limited whilst impacting their personal lives. Therefore, it is very important that young people have understood the instructions and training, for example: the hazards and risks in the workplace; the health and safety precautions that are in place.

When having young people in employment there are a few things to consider:

  • The layout of the workplace and environment;
  • The physical, biological and chemical agents they could come in contact with;
  • How they will handle work equipment, what is their physical capability?
  • How are the work and processes are organised;
  • The amount of health and safety training needed;
  • The risks from processes and work.

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