- Each week, two of our readers debate a hot topic in a parliamentary-style debate that doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal viewpoint
- This week, they discuss whether students should be required to have a job
Yuhan Huang, 14, German Swiss International School
A work placement is a temporary job that you do as part of a course of study in order to get practical training and experience. Many employers ask for work experience. Therefore, making work placements mandatory for Form Six students, who are about to enter university, is a good idea.
Not only does a work placement help them build a stronger résumé, they can gain skills related to their future career as well as learn what is required to succeed in the real world.
Also, they can fine-tune their job-hunting skills and even learn how to prepare for interviews.
In addition, teenagers will be able to boost their ability to think properly when under pressure. When conflicts arise, it is important that they learn to talk about those problems and avoid setbacks. They should also learn to have a good relationship with their colleagues.
Taking up an entry level job, where there is less responsibility, is excellent preparation for future employment.
In fact, a story about how you overcame challenges to do what you want is something university admission interviewers love to hear.
Having a work placement tends to boost teenagers’ self-confidence and help them make better use of their time.
In Hong Kong, the curriculum does not put much emphasis on financial literacy. A job would open the door to real-world experiences such as how to operate a savings account and learn the basics of money management.
It is important that students test the waters early so it can help them decide their career choices.
Work placements provide the opportunity for Form Six students to build a solid foundation for a bright future.
Hana van de Wiel, 19, Amsterdam University College, the Netherlands
Form Six students should not have to complete mandatory work experience. The final year of secondary school is mainly devoted to exams and university applications. With students having to sit for the HKDSE in the spring, Form Six is not the ideal time to take up a temporary job.
As a secondary school graduate, I understand that time management is a huge challenge without the extra burden of another item to check off the list, which is what a work placement could become.
Therefore, the possible benefits could be outweighed by the students’ resentment at their packed schedule, which would leave them with little free time.
Form Six is also the last time students will depend on the school to determine most things for them, before learning to care for themselves as young adults. So it would be the best time to have fun and be with their classmates before graduation.
Work experience can be gained in the summer before university, depending on the students’ future plans.
Mandatory work experience can certainly be useful to students, giving them a glimpse of the professional world and encouraging them to make a career choice.
But the experience doesn’t necessarily have to take place in Form Six; it can happen in Form Four or Form Five instead, when students have more free time.
This would ease the pressure on students and make the experience an enjoyable one for them rather than overwhelm them during the busiest period of secondary school.