Work Experience

The Department for Education has recently published their findings of their ‘Evaluation of the Work Experience Placement Trials’.

The evaluation involved students aged 16-18 from 25 colleges in areas with a high percentage of young people who are NEET and high proportions of students at level 2 or below.

The trial tested different work placements models, including:

  • Removing cost barriers for employers
  • Providing extra resources to colleges e.g. employ a staff member to organise work placements and liaise with employers.
  • Supporting learners with learning difficulties or disabilities (LLDD) or vulnerable/disadvantaged students.

At least 9,725 placements were provided during the two-year trial.

The report found that financial incentives for employers were unnecessary as employers did not want them. Many felt offering work experience was part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and saw it as contributing to the local community.

The report also found that the key benefit of the additional funding received by colleges was that it enabled them to employ work experience coordinators who established and developed relationships with employers.

This role of the coordinator was seen as an essential element for success by many college staff. They also stated that support for students (especially LLDD) and pre-placement preparation were particular elements of the trial that were essential to ensure successful delivery of worthwhile work experience placements.

The colleges found that additional funding also provided the opportunity to extend placements to more students.

The work experience trial was widely perceived by students, colleges and employers to have helped develop the skills necessary for employment, including teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills, enabling students to be more work-ready.

“It has become increasingly difficult for young people to get this valuable experience. That is why, in my 2011 review of vocational education for government, I highlighted the need to develop many more substantial work placements for young people, especially those aged 16 to 18. And it is why I am greatly encouraged by this excellent report and the advice to colleges and schools.” Professor Alison Wolf.

To read this report in full, please click here.

CASCAiD programs can help inform young people of different careers they can seek work placements in and also provide insight into different working environments and daily working tasks.

Careerscape, an online library of educational and employment information, contains an article about work experience, how to find an employer and video case studies of young people undertaking work experience placements.

The career videos, photographs and detailed information within Careerscape can also provide insight into different working environments to help students decide what industry to pursue a work experience placement in.

The Department for Education report found that some students gained or were in the process of securing employment or apprenticeships following their work experience.

Applying for a job or for work experience can often require a CV, and many young people struggle to know where to start when creating their first CV.

Kudos Inspire CV builder contains a CV template and guidance at each stage to help students create a CV that showcases their experiences, interests and achievements.

For a free Kudos Inspire trial, please click here.

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