Bring back compulsory work experience in schools, say business leaders

A leading business group is calling for compulsory work experience to be re-instated for school pupils. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) wants employment placements brought back for students aged 14 to 16. iNews reports.

Mike Cherry, FSB chairman, said: “More than 40 per cent of small firms already offer work experience either as part of the recruitment process or through their community outreach but now it’s time that this is taken to the next level.”

“Smaller firms are more likely to hire people from harder-to-reach backgrounds, which is why the reintroduction of work experience would be a valuable leg-up for students looking to experience work and small firms looking to plug their recruitment gaps in the future.”

A survey of teenagers last year by Career Colleges Trust found an overwhelming majority (83 per cent) felt work experience should be compulsory.

More than a third of teens (37 per cent) reported not having done any work experience at school but 51 per cent had organised their own placement.

Some 41 per cent surveyed felt relevant work experience was of more value than just a degree qualification when applying for a job. And more than half (57 per cent) said work experience allowed you to gain valuable skills which are not taught in the classroom.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Indeed our education reforms, from introducing new GCSEs to overhauling apprenticeships and technical education, are all about giving young people the knowledge, skills and opportunities to succeed in whatever path they choose to follow.

“We have funded the Careers & Enterprise Company to set up a network of business volunteers which is now active in over 2,000 secondary schools and colleges.”

Read more Bring back compulsory work experience in schools, say business leaders

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Comments

  1. Kath Wright

    Please note that work experience was never compulsory. At one time 95% of students 14-16 did take part in a work placement under the statutory duty on schools to offer work related learning for all at KS4 and to demonstrate that the school was meeting 8/9 learning outcomes of the WRL framework. You cannot force employers to offer work placements. However, once a work experience coordinator in a school for some 10 years I saw the benefits first hand either through visiting students in the workplace or upon their return when we held in depth debriefing. The links made between the curriculum and the world of work were immense. Reviewing and auditing career related programmes 9/10 groups of students interviewed have all said that they would like to undertake a work placement. Changes to the Education Act ,the recommendations from the Wolf Review, the removal of funding for EBPs along with the statutory duty to provide careers education and work related learning have taken their toll.

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