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Earn and learn Why part-time work is good for kids

  • Finance help

Nov 23, 2014


3 mins read

School’s almost out for summer, with most teenagers probably planning to do as little as possible except sleep in, hang out and spend mum’s and dad’s money. But the Christmas holidays are an ideal time for kids to pick up a part-time job and hopefully learn a little about life along the way.

In our stable economy, there are plenty of opportunities for young people to get a part-time job. Kids need to be 14 before they can get a proper paying job and they need a tax file number (TFN). High-schoolers can avoid the usual paperwork by applying for a TFN through the secondary schools program, which allows schools to verify a student’s identity through their records. If your school doesn’t participate in the program or you attend university, apply for a TFN online at

One of the hardest parts about looking for a first job is pulling together a resume when you don’t have any actual work experience. Most kids won’t know where to start, so get them to think about their skills, hobbies, school and sport achievements to help promote qualities such as organisation, determination and teamwork.

There are plenty of employers with part-time jobs for students – fast food chains, cafes, supermarkets and retailers among them. Start by looking close to home, especially if your student is yet to get a driver’s licence. Surprisingly, even in our digital age, going door-to-door is still often the best way to source casual or part-time opportunities.

Apart from giving young people some spending money, a part-time job will help them become more organised, disciplined and independent, qualities that will hold them in good stead when it comes to working fulltime. Unfortunately, casual work can sometimes prove demanding and unreliable, with employers cancelling or adding shifts, or asking kids to work hours that don’t suit study or family schedules. If your student has a fair and flexible employer, encourage them to show their appreciation by working hard and maintaining a positive attitude.

Most importantly, kids learn the value of money and how to manage it. Help them prioritise their spending by giving them some financial responsibility, such as paying their mobile phone bill or covering their petrol. That way they learn to be disciplined with their pay and appreciate early the value of disposable income. If they run out of money before their next pay, they will soon learn the importance of sticking to a budget.

You should also encourage your student to save a portion of their earnings for some of life’s bigger expenses, such as a car, travel or even a deposit on their first property. It’s never too early to start building a nest egg, especially while kids have the benefit of living at home. If they manage to get a couple of thousand dollars under their belt, it’s worth considering a high-interest savings account to help propel their funds further.

A part-time job while still at school also means getting a jump on superannuation. While most young people barely contemplate tomorrow, let alone retirement, the forced savings of Australia’s super scheme means many of today’s teens may not have to rely on the pension in their senior years.

Parents are often pleasantly surprised to find part-time work helps their kids mature, making them more respectful and responsible on the home front. If you are looking to give your young person a leg up in life, encourage them to climb out from under the covers these holidays to look for a part-time job.

Nov 23, 2014


3 mins read

Any advice contained in this article is of a general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regard to those matters. Information in this article is correct as of the date of publication and is subject to change.