Under the coalition government compulsory work experience was scrapped, however due to a recent poll this decision is now being questioned. With John Longworth, Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, explaining that the decision was a ‘careless’ ‘mistake’. He went on to pledged that the British Chambers of Commerce will now work with UK governments in all 4 nations to ‘ensure that more and more businesses engage with schools, offer workplacements to young people, and help the next generation get the start that they deserve.’
The poll, which was created by the British Chambers of Commerce, concluded that 82% of the 3000 bosses asked believe that all students under 16 should be offered work experience placements. Other findings included that the majority (79%) of the businesses leaders questioned thought that work experience was vital for helping students gain vital skills. However despite this 36% of said they offered no work experience of any kind. From this it is clear that government initiative and the BCC are key to getting more firms to accept work experience students.
Mr Longworth sees work experience as the key to combatting youth unemployment, inspiring students to challenge themselves professionally and learn important skills that business are currently missing in many of their candidates for their entry level vacancies. The BCC’s decision has been backed up by Christine Blower, General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers (NUT), who stated that it was a mistake to downplay the importance of work experience, and that the government also needs to support local authorities in rebuilding their careers advisory services.
Do you feel students should undergo compulsory work experience? Are companies that accept volunteer students doing enough to help these student learn important skills in your opinion?