3 ways to bring-on young people into your workplace

Consider these three components when preparing your workplace for young people

Jose Alba
2 young women are working together, looking at the screen of the MacBook on the desk.
unsplash/Van Tay Media
28 October 2019

Preparing the stage for a workplace where young people thrive is imperative to reap the benefit of their innovative and adaptable mindset.  Once you promote a proper work ethic and passion for enterprise in our young people, the sky is well and truly the limit. Meanwhile, you may just avoid a future generation of young people who think that being a ‘celebrity’ is a career! Breaking down barriers between business and young people should be a priority for both parties to embrace the shift.

Once you promote a proper work ethic and passion for enterprise in our young people, the sky is well and truly the limit

Consider these three components when preparing your workplace for young people:

1 - Training

In many countries, there is a mismatch between the education, skills and training that young people receive, and the needs of businesses and labor markets. In some instances, industries are facing labor shortages, yet youth unemployment rates in these same countries are high, as it is the case of Thailand.  The International Labour Office (ILO) School-to-Work Transition surveys show that over half of young people have skills that do not match job requirements (International Labour Office, 2017).

Training is the key for the new entrants of the Millennial workforce because they are essentially a blank slate. They don’t have old, often bad habits like more experienced employees might. Most don’t have big egos built on previous experiences, which can be a challenge for managers and co-workers. And, most young employees are good at coping with change. In fact, many thrive on it.

A picture of a right hand holding a pen, taking note on a book.

Moreover, young employees can be trained to suit your specific business needs. If the prospect of training young employees intimidates you, you’ll want to create employee training material that addresses both the strengths of young employees and the realities of your workplace.

Since your job applicants are likely to include Millennials, it can really hold your business back if you aren’t prepared. An effective employee training program may take some time and money to implement upfront, but it allows you to quickly onboard younger, less experienced (and, consequently, better resourced) employees.

2 - Cultural shift

When you hire young people, the culture of your company should be welcoming to them. Let your young employees know that you value their ideas and that they’re not a simple token of the Millennial workforce.  At the same time, ensure that your corporate culture is well articulated and evident in your principles.  Young people, like most other segments, embrace a “sense of belonging”, and if employees align with your corporate culture, you will most likely create a loyal, motivated employee base.

3 – Internship, apprenticeship, and management trainee programs

Another way to create a welcoming environment for young people is by creating an internship program or apprenticeship plan. When determining how to find interns for your business, consider the variety of new media platforms that they are using. Once you have a method for finding new talent, make sure you have an internship program worth participating in.

Both apprenticeships and internships provide valuable job training to young workers--and can be a draw for job applicants. With paid internships and apprenticeships, you get to transfer knowledge and skills to a young worker.

A young lady wearing UNICEF cyan blue t-shirt standing in front of a colorful backdrop.
UNICEF Thailand/2019/Preechapanich

Landing an internship at UNICEF helped me shape my career as I just came out of university unsure of which industry to target. My teammates are helping me define myself as a professional and I enjoy the challenge!

Rasa, UNICEF Thailand

These programs allow you the opportunity to see if you like the workers before deciding to hire them full time. As you incorporate younger employees into your workplace, your older employees will work closely with the younger new hires, and both can learn from each other. 

Apprenticeships are long-term training programs, sometimes lasting several years. Apprenticeships are often associated with vocational trades or unionized disciplines, but not always. The focus of an apprenticeship is to train an employee so that, by the program’s end, they are fully prepared to work in the discipline to which they were an apprentice.  At the end of an apprenticeship, you can hire the apprentice. Apprenticeships do not suit all types of businesses, but they are invaluable for the ones they fit.

Internships are typically short-term experiences that tend to last a few months. When creating an internship program, design it to help young people learn about the career in which they are interested. Internship programs also help young workers gain experience for their future, long-term job. Internship programs can be a great way to qualify talent before hiring young people; however, many interns aren’t looking for a full-time job, but rather a resume booster.

Employers can also create a trial program so that companies and young people can find out if and where there is a good fit. Management trainee program where young people are hired at specific-duration and have opportunity to rotate to various departments to find out what fits them best. At the end of the program, both parties can choose if they are right for each other.

About This Paper

This document forms part of the “Dare to Dream” campaign, a UNICEF movement which aims to listen and consolidate opinions and insights of young people in understanding which skills are most relevant to their daily lives, and which approaches or teaching methods are most attractive or successful in engaging students to develop these skills and have a fair path to employability. For more information, please visit us at www.unicef.or.th/daretodream