What lifeskill/training would you recommend for a young person (that can be done in a month or less)?

Hi all,

I have a 16 year old son who, once GCSEs are out of the way next summer, will have a superlong summer (11 weeks). He’s a smart cookie and looking to go off to university a couple of years later.

It’s not very often in life you get free time like this and so was looking for ideas on what he might want to study or do during that period that would set him up for earning. He’s adamant he doesn’t want to do coding so I’m happy to rule that out. He got a lot of benefit from a touch typing course a couple of years ago but was looking for something fun/educational that might increase his earning power before he goes to Uni and then during Uni.

Initial thought was something like a Barista course as it’s skilled and can get you a job in most major cities if you’re travelling etc.

Does anyone have any other ideas on what might be a good fit? There’s no pressure from me for him to do it but he’s quite keen do find something as the summer will be a bit long otherwise.


What does he enjoy doing?

I worked my 11 week holiday out in a pub kitchen.
It honestly taught me all I had learnt in school ever.

It’s helped me alot moving into full time work when I turned 18

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I think sales or customer service roles give you lots of useful soft skills that transfer well to most roles later in a career.

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I would suggest he relaxes. If he is desperate to learn something new then he could and use his time to develop skills in meditation and mindfulness. This period between GCSE’s and A Levels will be one of the very few times in his life when he doesn’t have any real pressure on him. Once A Levels are done its a build up to uni, and then it’s the big bad world…or Masters, doctorates etc.

Go for walks, take photos, spend time with friends, play sports, watch movies…just don’t study.

Maybe I am being unrealistic, but given the lack of free time he will have in the future I think I would encourage him to drink it all in. Lay in bed until noon and then sit around in his pants all day if he wants. Spend time with family and friends…or just friends!

My son finished his GCSE’s this year and we spent time together talking, playing pool, watching sports. It was great and he said only the other day that he wishes he had more time to do nothing…it’s a shame but the world we live in is geared towards earning more, having more, spending more…when what will really make us happy is being content, having people around us that we love and having time to appreciate things.

I’ll shhhh now…maybe I am a lefty snowflake who is out of touch…but having worked in the NHS for over 25 years so far I wish I had taken the time just to ‘be’


Learn a language - something like German/French/Spanish you can reach a really good level over that length of time if you put the effort in. If they’re feeling really adventurous then Mandarin or Russian are other options, though they’re a bit harder to learn in my experience.

Languages are so useful, whether just for when you’re travelling or open up new work and study options abroad.

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As an ex publican [amongst many other things] I can honestly recommend pub work. He is not old enough to serve alcohol but waiting on, clearing in and washing up will definitely give him a good grounding in humanity - not to mention earning a few shilligs. I expect over the 6 years or so [two pubs] I employed probably 20-25 youngsters and would like to think I helped [some of] them develop their characters, personalities and life skills. One particular soul who couldn’t be trusted with a damp tea towel when he started became such a good all rounder we could leave him to run the pub - then he went to Uni. and we started again. R-

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Yes, a little bit but I do appreciate the sentiment.

Same, I think working a pub and hotel kitchen for years up to leaving uni prepared me well for life.

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I think you both should be guided by his interests, but if he’s into it, some sort of volunteering rather than a training course per se may be of benefit. I agree with those who are recommending hospitality-type roles, but if it’s being well-rounded, taking advantage of the time to broaden one’s horizons and employability you’re interested in I would say volunteering with people outside of his normal sphere would make him stand out over working in a pub as most people who chose to do hospitality work do it as a source of income and the skills gained are a secondary consideration. If he is fortunate enough to not need the money, he may enjoy working with, children, the elderly, the homeless, those with learning or physical disabilities. Or there is environmental volunteering. Equally volunteering doesn’t need to include direct contact with those who benefit, such as working in logistics, administration or fundraising of a charitable organisation.

Photography or a language. Both open the world in different ways.

Shame he isn’t 18 as bar work is a great way to understand how different your own ‘world’ is too.

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I was brought up speaking French and English and I regret not learning another language sooner.


Even in a kitchen

I worked in a pub kitchen from 16-18 and then left to go into wharehouse work for better pay. (oh and full time and I have 3 GCSE’s so Uni more like are you joking)

Teaches you alot about work and for someone with social anxeity gave me some social skills.

Some pubs have real high turnover so just a warning on that.