Sam Coldbeck has found taking on teenagers has brought a new dimension to her Premier store’s workforce.

Sam Coldbeck

Employing teenagers has been a tricky topic since we applied for our alcohol licence more than 10 years ago. We went almost overnight from a store employing an even balance of juniors and seniors, to replacing our young leavers with more mature staff who could serve alcohol without having to seek authorisation from a colleague.

And so it remained until recently when I read an article stating that there are half as many teenagers in the workforce as there were a generation ago – nowadays, it seems kids are more inclined to turn to short-term informal gigs to earn money.

At £4.35 an hour juniors are no longer cheap labour, but remembering the benefits a mixed age workforce brought to our business, I was keen to give it another go.

I placed an advert and was overwhelmed with applications. We selected four for interview and found it really difficult to choose two to take on as the standard was superb. These were confident kids who were desperate to work in their local shop.

Apart from needing longer rest breaks more often and having guidelines in place about the amount of hours under-18s can work, the government still make it reasonably easy for us to offer employment to kids.

We obviously have the issue of them seeking authorisation before they can sell alcohol, but the plan is to have them stacking shelves, cleaning and using the counter only when queues are building up, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

Teenagers are bringing a breath of fresh air to our store and proving that, given the opportunity, they can work hard and survive for four hours without their phone!