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The difficulties which face parents in selecting a. trade or occupation for their boys becomes very real at this time of year, for we have again reached the period when many of the boys, both in town and country, are leaving school and must choose a career. The scarcity of boys dur'ng recent years has been such as not to cause much misapprehension amongst parents as to finding employment for their sons when leaving school. Notwithstanding the facilities offered to b<j"'s and girls to enter upon a course of study at the secondary schools when their primary .school course has been completed, there arc only a limited number who pursue their studies further than the Sixth Standard, consequently there are a large'number of lads from 12 to 14 years of age whose services are available. The difficulty which confronts the majority of these lads is not altogether the matter of securing employment, but of securing that employment to which they arc best suited. How often do we find a boy’s career spoiled through his being drafted into an occupation for wh'ch he is unsnited?

Having this difficulty in mind, Mr Hughes, secretary of the local branch of the Young Men's Christian Association, and his assistant, Mr S. Wilkinson, have evolved a scheme the object of which was to avoid ‘‘the round peg in a square hole,” or, in other words, to prevent a lad pursuing a course which would, probably load him to a ‘‘blind alley.” Circulars were given to employers of labor to fill up, and there were ashed to state the nature of the employment they were prepared to offer a lad. Mr VMikinson visited practically the whole of the primary schools in and about the City, and with the consent of the head master addressed tho lads who had passed the Sixth Standard, and were about to embark on an important stage of life’s journey. In almost every instance he found (he head master and first assistant of the different schools yisited keenly desirous of furthering the objects ho had in view. A ‘ Star’ reporter who waited on Messrs Hughes and Wilkinson at tho Y.M.C.A. fiooms found ‘both gentlemen willing to impart any information rigarding the r scheme which was likely to extend its usefulness. Mr Wilkinson stud that in his remarks to the boys ho impressed upon them the necessity of taking advantages of instruction at the Higu School or Technical College. If that were not possible, then to embrace the advantages offered by the evening or continuation classes at the latter institution. In tho matter of choosing a career they should endeavor to find out if they had an aptitude for what they purposed taking up. Then, again, they should find out whether the trade or occupation they had in view was suited to their health. This was important. He also touched on the duties to their employers. Ho admonished them not to waste their employers’ time. This was a matter of honesty. Tho lad who wasted his employers’ time was wasting his money. He advised them to cultivate habits of courtesy, punctuality, smartness, and neatness. Ft was these little points that make all the difference. The first six months of a boy's career when lie first leaves school frequently makes or mars his life. They sfiould be considerate to their employers, in the matter of filling up their spare time, they .should cultivate a taste for the reading of a good class of book. The matter of outside recreation must not be neglected. They should put in a certain amount of time each week in tho practice of physical culture. Whilst not canvassing for membership -to the Y.M.C.A., Mr Wilkinson pointed out the facilities the institution had to offer in the matter of assisting lads. Circulars were left, and boys wishing employment were asked to fill them up and return them. Those circulars, when filled up, contained most of the particulars an employer would require in engaging a lad. When the filkd-up forms arc received back from the employers and the lads seeking employment, they are gone through carefully and the lads selected and recommended for the different positions offered and sought. In this way a large number of positions have been arranged, to tho satisfaction of both parties.

Tho employers as a whole met the promoters of the scheme in a highly commendable spirit, and some of tnc replies received were very encouraging to Messrs Hughes and Wilkinson. The following extracts are taken from some of the replies received :—“ Yonr scheme is an admirable one, and should commend itself to parents and employers.” “We. wish to express our appreciation of the work you are undertaking, as wo feel it is likely to be a distinct benefit to employers generally.’.’ “ I heartily commend this new departure of your work.” To give some idea of tho work voluntarily undertaken by the promoters, without fee or reward, it may be mentioned that 17 schools were visited and the same number of head masters interviewed; 15 schools were addressed, comprising a total of 325 pupils. It was ascertained during the course of this campaign that 2CO boya were leaving school. Of this number 75 sought the association’s assistance in securing positions, the positions sought being as follows : —Office 11, warehouse 7, Government 8, cabinetmaking 5, engineering 5. electrical engineering 5, farming 4, plumbing 3, cycle mechanic, motor mechanic, shop, polishing, printing, wool-classing, boilermaking, and engraving 1 each. To assist these boys 120 Dunedin firms were communicated with, and as a result positions were offered to 62 boys. Of this number 19 were required for the draperytrade, 9 for warehouses, 7 for offices, 6 for iron moulding, 6 for brass-finishing, 4 for factories, 2 for tinsmithing, 2' for cop-per-smithing, and 1 each for bag-making, boiler-making, blacksmithing, insurance office, grocery, pattern-making, and rangemaking. An analysis of these investigations shows among other peculiarities that whereas 19 boys were required for the drapery trade, there was not one boy out of tho 75 who desired to take on this class of work. There were 12 vacancies for boys in ironmoulding and brass-finishing, and not one applicant. On the other hand, there were five applicants for engineering and four for electrical engineering, and there were no vacancies. Inquiry showed that restrictions embodied in some trade awards regarding the employment of apprentices were responsible for some of the peculiarities referred to.

Messrs Hughes and Wilkinson are to bo congratulates on this the most recent of the association’s activities, and tho hope expressed that this very excellent beginning is doubtless the foundation of a most commendable branch of Y.M.C.A. work.

round: Miss R. Bagley and G. G. M‘Dougall play Miss X. Gray and A. Borrows, Mias R. Hughes and G. Ollivier play winners of first round, Miss M. R. White and S. N. Brown play Miss F. Campbell and W. Pearso Mis Ballantyne and G. D. Seay play Miss A. L. Brewster and L. B. Jennings, j In each of the first rounds, with the exception of the Men’s Doubles, there are a considerable number of byes.

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WHAT TO DO WITH OUR BOYS, Issue 15682, 22 December 1914

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WHAT TO DO WITH OUR BOYS Issue 15682, 22 December 1914

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