Under-the-Counter Adolescent Freelancers

On the average Cubans begin working at the age of 19, which means there is a great amount of people having their first job at their teens. Self-employment has been an alternative for that age population, but...

By: Yuniel Labacena Romero

Email: digital@juventudrebelde.cu

2017-04-27 | 17:59:55 EST
When do they do these jobs? Why? What are the risks? These questions were ans
wered by María Josefa Luis Luis, a CESJ researcher, who since 2002 has studied the issues of youth employment in Cuba.
Most of the time, neither the employers, nor the parents, nor the adolescent himself think about the dangers this practice entails, she said. “Among these problems we can refer, firstly, to health, since the work needs physical and psychological effort which has to be certified by a doctor, if the worker is fit to do the job.
“Also the time dedicated to study is affected, which is the main activity at this age. In this regard, we should remember that secondary school studies are compulsory in Cuba, as well as the responsibility of the family in the compliance with this social commitment. This situation also requires the sacrifice of other activities for socialization typical of adolescents which contribute to their social involvement and a better emotional growth”, she stressed.
Safety and stability
There are few workers at the age of 15 or 16; most of them work as operators and a small group is dedicated to service labors. The 17-19 age group is bigger and has more diversity regarding occupational categories, much nearer the characteristics of the youth’s working population, although the operators are more common.
A phenomenon which is not oblivious to adolescents is the separation from school and work. The latest studies conducted by the CESJ showed that the existence of people at working age without studying or working, many of them are dropouts from education or the lack of continuity at school after the nine grade. Others did not find a job after they completed studies in trade schools.
Luis Luis explains that the first job is a difficult and important stage in the young worker’s life. Therefore, getting inserted into the world of work demands a certain level of guidance so that the adaptation process goes smoothly, it requires the complete  preparation to perform the content of his job, orientation, familiarization with the work environment and the apprehension of the culture of the entity.
She added that, according to the study, the main difficulties affecting adolescents when they occur in employment are related to the lack of orientation and formalization of training processes for the work they will perform.
Considering the aspects already explained for the majority of the adolescents, working is not a fundamental activity in their life since they are still in school age. However, more than half of the participants in the study confer it some level of importance, according to the direct relationship with employment or the proximity to labor insertion.
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