The four lovely teens pictured here in their Hi Vis vests recently spent a week working with us in TPI. I can speak for all in TPI in saying that they were a pleasure to work with.

When I was 13 I got my first ever job. It was as a cleaner in a Deli in Bray Shopping Centre.

After a brief but tricky interview one Friday evening the owner gave me two hours work a day for five days a week. I worked from 4 pm to 6 pm, cleaning the cooker, the fridge, the crockery, the floor, filling the customer facing shelves and sweeping the path outside. I think they used to save up the crappy jobs for my little work window or so it seemed. 50 pence an hour. So each week I took home a fiver. My Mum thought they must be mad to hire me for a cleaning job. She knew what my room looked like. But this cleaning was for money, I was now a professional and in the real world you do things you don’t do a lot of at home and you do them better. At least I did.

It really was a pretty crap job now that I think of it. I would love to tell you my boss was an inspiration to me. That he showed me what serving the customer at a profit was all about. But he didn’t. He was just a grumpy guy under pressure. He wasn’t even very nice to his customers let alone being nice to me. That didn’t matter. The job was the thing. It was important because it got me off my ass. It gave me some much needed pocket money and I learned early on what I didn’t want to do with my working life.

I feel passionately every student who can should work during the summer holidays because it starts them on a road that leads to a career. Every time a young person takes on a challenge they are better for it. What can be more challenging for a teenager than facing into a place full of busy adults working hard? What could give you more confidence then knowing you were set a job and with perseverance and some help from a team you nailed it? What could be more satisfying then getting your hands on a small envelope with money in it and knowing you bloody well earned that?

So in TPI Group we have teens in working for parts of the summer each and every year since we moved in here. It livens up the place. It brings out the best in our staff, male and female, who go that extra mile for the  ‘nippers’.  We all benefit from their thirst for knowledge. Their Mums and Dads tell us week one they come home hungry, knackered and shell shocked.

But quickly they get the hang of it and the best ones make their mark.

Most of them then look to return the following year. So my bet is that they enjoy it as much as we do.

As long as we have the work for it we will have them back. And I hope we are the push off point for some highly successful careers. These four are just passing through TPI but we are a better business for having them and I think they are the better for being here this week. Can anyone who knows me figure out who featured in the pic might be belonging to me?

Colin Culliton

CEO, TPI Group