• Ksenia Wagensveld

Managing the energy of youth


So I have a teenager, so of course I spend a lot of time worrying. I worry that he won't make good decisions. I worry that he's too young for the freedom that we give him. I worry that the attitude he gives us he may give to a prospective employer, and he might not get a job. I worry he will do something utterly stupid and he or one of his friends will be hurt. But at the heart of it, he's a good kid. He's smart (but lazy), he's athletic if not a little arrogant at times.

So now you may ask yourself why am I sharing this on my professional blog page. Here it is...today I read this article on the ABC News website about teenage decision making.

Why teenagers make terrible decisions: A guide for parents

It resonated with me, as an Quality and OHS Professional that we don't do enough to support young people in the workplace going through this perilous journey.

The key tips that the article provides for parents can equally be applied to employers. The discussions we have our young workers should be supported by good training and help facilitate the decision-making process.

Think to yourself- Do your training programs offer scenarios to help your employees understand the likely challenges they are going to face- both from the perspective of dealing with challenging customers, and or situations increasing the risks of harm? Is your emergency planning genuinely preparing your workforce for things are really actually likely to go wrong, and how to get to the next step safely?

Do you provide enough support, supervision and mentoring for the young people in your workforce so they understand the correct behaviours, and the consequences for behaving otherwise? Do you place your young people with peers that will support their growth and decision-making and not bully or set the wrong example?

I've audited a lot of organisations and I would suggest there are very few who formally consider the needs of their young workers as being different to their other workers. So take some time to read the article and see if there is more that your organisation can do to support your young people better.

#youngworkers #quality #whs #ohs #workhealthandsafety #training #support #risktaking

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