Minimum wage will harm studies;Letter

19th June 1998 at 01:00
I read with interest the article by Karen Thornton (TES, May 29), about the damage working can do to A-level performance. As a lecturer in further education, I see a large number of young people who, although they are full-time students, are also working a significant number of hours.

My perception is that two converging factors have produced this situation. Lifestyle expectations of the young now include drinking premium-priced lagers and beers, owning a mobile phone and, in a rising number of cases, running a car.

These expectations, coupled with a great many employers seeking to recruit low-paid, flexible staff, have made the employment of students a characteristic of several industries.

The number of hours worked can be considerable, with employers apparently either oblivious or unconcerned about the impact on study. In many instances, this appears to become a low priority.

It was, therefore, with some dismay that I learned that young adults would be exempt from the minimum wage regulations. I had hoped a realistic minimum wage would see employers recruiting from across the age range while encouraging students to work shorter hours to obtain the income they feel is required.

The Government says it wants a well-trained, young adult workforce but this decision makes a mockery of such claims. This appears more of an attempt to implement a manifesto promise without upsetting its new-found business supporters.

David Dooley

Balmoral Drive, Bramcote Hills, Nottingham

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