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Work experience key to meeting youth unemployment – UKCES

More employers can and should offer young people work experience, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has stated.

A new report highlights the importance of work experience for future employment and seeks to dispel myths and barriers currently stopping employers from offering placements. In the past year just 27% of employers offered work experience – many because they believe they have no suitable roles, UKCES said.

But young people should be able to access a variety of different work. The report provides guidance on how employers can offer work experience, sets out ways they could benefit and suggests organisations who can help. Case studies are also provided to offer some examples of how to provide work experience.

The report said: “Too many think that work experience involves a two week placement in the summer. But work experience is not just making tea. It is about inspiring young people, opening their eyes to the range and variety career opportunities open to them, and showing them the importance of the choices they make. Nearly every employer is able to offer work experience in this broadest sense. 

“Helping employers to engage with young people is one of the most important things we can do to meet the challenge of youth unemployment.”

Teresa Frith, senior skills policy manager for the Association of Colleges, said: “It is a well presented piece of work which draws on the increasing amount of research that recognises the importance of work experience in a young person’s attitude to and performance in work. The report also provides some good practice case studies of the work colleges are doing.

“We would hope that this report, developed by employers for employers, will help encourage more of them to provide effective work placements and take advantage of the opportunities they present to business.

“There is still a way to go to ensure we have sufficient placements of suitable quality for young people to become work inspired, but this report provides some practical help to move much closer.”

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