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Year-round work experience better for schools and businesses, report finds

24 Apr 2012

Work experience

Work experience for school and college students should take place throughout the year, rather than in the traditional two week block in the summer term- allowing closer integration with the curriculum, according to a report published today.

The report, Business and Schools; Building the world of work together, published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, finds that although schools often have close links with local employers, a few simple steps could make these partnerships more effective.

These include:

Increasing the flexibility of work experience placements so that these can be run throughout the year and integrated more seamlessly into the curriculum

More employer visibility in and around schools – for example, providing materials to support the curriculum; arranging site visits and visiting schools to speak about their business

Providing up to date careers information and helping to raise the profile of lesser-known careers.

The report calls upon schools, governing bodies, local authorities and the government to help remove obstacles which may hamper effective partnerships, such as inflexible curriculum planning and health and safety fears.

The report has been championed by James Wates, Deputy Chairman of Wates Group and a Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, who said:

“As businesspeople, we have the industry and sector knowledge while teachers have the teaching skills. As the world of work changes shape and new challenges face the next generation, business needs to work even more closely with schools and colleges.

Young people need up-to-date information on careers and an appreciation of what the workplace expects from them. When businesses and schools work in partnership, this produces substantial benefits for everybody involved: most importantly, for young people and their awareness and experience of the workplace.

Business continues to identify barriers and improvements needed which confirms the need for more action to be taken by businesses, schools and other organisations to make sure we build up strong partnerships needed for the future.” 

Download the report and associated case studies.