‘Make work experience compulsory again,’ say most business leaders

The Tes reports that an overwhelming majority of business leaders want work experience to be made compulsory in schools again, according to a survey released today.

The survey reveals that 93 per cent of decision-makers in companies support such a move, just five years after the coalition government decided to scrap compulsory work experience.

More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of the 500 respondents said that work experience could help to prepare young people for the world of business, and more than half (57 per cent) claimed it would help to instil a strong work ethic in the next generation.

Asked what they struggle with when hiring young people, more than one in three (39 per cent) said that the majority of young people applying for jobs have little or no experience in the workplace.

However, 1,000 parents with children aged 14-18, who were also surveyed for the research, were less enthusiastic about a return to compulsory work experience, with less than half (48 per cent) supporting such a move.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, said pupils needed to think about the world of work at primary school, rather than waiting until they were older.

He said: “Work experience is not the only element that is needed, and leaving it until secondary school to talk to children about the world of work is too late. Even though employment is years away, it is at primary school where children first begin to dream about what they will become when they are grown up”.

But making work experience compulsory would have huge implications for funding in schools, according to Jan Ellis, chief executive of the Career Development Institute.

She said: “Schools are already struggling with reduced budgets, Unless careers education and guidance are higher up the school agenda and there is investment in the training of careers leaders in schools, the infrastructure is simply not in place to make this a reality.”

Read the full article ‘Make work experience compulsory again,’ say most business leaders

What do you think? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Some Islamic schools in England still segregating children
Stop shooting silver bullets and learn to trust our teachers again
Categories: Budgets, Employment, Learning, Primary, Secondary and Training.


  1. Here at St Peter’s C of E Aided School, Exeter, we have always felt that Work Experience is a very important part of our Work and Career Related Learning programme and when many schools were dropping it, the Senior Leadership Team decided that we would not. All students in Year 10 complete at least one week’s work experience and a considerable number of students are offered apprenticeships or part-time jobs as a result of it.

  2. Scrapping work experience was the single biggest act of skills vandalism conducted by any government, yes it needed updating but no experience is as bad a barrier to employment as anything.

Let us know what you think...