Head teachers demand good quality work experience for all students

Our partners at ASDAN Education have published the findings of a new report looking at the importance of work experience.

Good quality work experience is essential to education, according to the head teachers and business leaders of the Employment and Skills Forum (ESF). Their views are published in the ESF’s latest report. 84% of those surveyed in the report, commissioned by ASDAN Education, believe work experience should be made available for all school pupils and college students. The report also finds that 69% of respondents believe that young people should be introduced to employability skills by age 13.

This year, the Coalition announced plans to scrap compulsory work experience in schools. Tony Ryan, head teacher of Chiswick School, who was surveyed in the report, says this is a grave error: “Work experience is on the decline in schools, which is concerning considering the positive impact that it can have on the lives of young people. We hope that the results of this survey will demonstrate that work experience still has a place to play in adding context to learning and assisting the journey from full time education to the world of work.”

David Walker, Director of Programme, Policy and Communications at Career Academies UK – a business-led charity who help young people from diverse backgrounds secure high quality work placements – says: ‘Work experience and internships transform lives. But it is crucial that these are properly resourced and meaningful experiences. We hope the report will demonstrate the need for high quality placements for all young people to help them develop the attributes needed for work. It’s great to see from the report that this idea has support from within the education and business communities.”

His views were echoed by Marius Frank, ASDAN chief executive, who says that work experience must not be neglected in schools: “Work experience is currently only available in some schools for some students, and varies in structure and effectiveness. However, the results of the survey show that good-quality, structured work placements would be beneficial for all parties. Curriculum planners must consider the wider, whole education of a young person. This broader education experience is in danger of being overlooked and marginalised by an education system that is increasingly influenced by an obsession with traditional, academic views of content and assessment.”

The Employment and Skills Forum

The ASDAN Employment and Skills Forum was launched in March 2011 at the House of Lords. Hosted by Baroness Walmsley, the event brought more than 80 education and business leaders together to discuss ways to address the skills gap for those moving from education into employment. The forum was launched as part of the expanding ASDAN employability initiative to support the Government focus on the significance of general and employability skills.

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