LIKE many school leavers, I started with no qualifications, in a very junior role.

I didn’t go to university, choosing instead to work my way up from the bottom rung of the ladder at a small firm in London.

I made mistakes and learnt from them. I also worked, for a short spell, for a wholly unscrupulous employer, teaching me a lot about why workers’ rights are important and should be reinforced.

In time, I learnt my trade and my career got going and I moved to different jobs where I could take my new found skills further.

But this isn’t a story about my career. It’s a story about those people who took a punt on an unqualified school leaver and gave him a chance.

Of course, this is far from unique. In fact, every single one of us must rely on an employer taking a punt on an inexperienced member of staff.

Whilst that even applies to highly qualified people leaving universities with professional degrees, it is hugely important to people like me, with no professional qualifications and, in my case, less than optimal A level results.

That is why successive governments, in delivering the minimum wage, have made a carve out for younger employees.

Employers take a calculated investment on first job workers - an investment that is not just wages.

Successive governments realise that if the basic, minimum wages are set too high, the employer will choose to employ someone with a proven track record, maybe even with the requisite training.

With a starting wage set too high, the risk/reward ratio for that school is too risky and school leavers lose out.

This is why the Labour leader’s announcement, increasing the minimum wage to £10 per hour for everyone over the age of 16, is such a misguided idea.

I understand all the arguments that it appears unfair – especially for kids who have left home, or have high expenses to get to their jobs.

But what is incredibly important is that we get school leavers into work to get that over that hump in the road that is gaining experience.

Once over that problem, their careers can fly or not, depending on opportunities and commitment.

But let’s not potentially take away that early opportunity from school leavers just for the sake of short term populist policies.