Business and Education Leaders: Make under 16 work experience a national priority
A national survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found that the vast majority of business, school and college leaders want ministers to recognise the importance of pre-16 work experience.
The survey of over 3,500 business leaders and education leaders found that:
- 82% of business respondents and 73% of respondents from schools, colleges and universities believe secondary schools should offer work experience for pupils aged under 16.
- 79% of employers think work experience is the most important activity to equip young people with workplace skills.
- While the majority of businesses offer some form of work experience, a third of businesses (36%) offer no work experience of any kind. Micro and small businesses, in particular, need greater support to offer work experience.
Commenting on the survey, Professor Steve West, President of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative, said:
“We won’t bridge the gap and transition between the world of education and the world of work unless young people spend time in placements while still at school. Experience in the workplace is a crucial component to help bring down our youth unemployment rate and ensure more young people are prepared for work. These survey results show passion for placements from both businesses and educators.
“A number of tools are being put in place for increasing the amount of placements in our region. Earlier this month, for instance, we saw the launch of the ‘Your Future’ initiative, linking businesses with schools, colleges and training providers to improve young people’s prospects for a successful career. The South West will host four events as part of this programme, beginning in November. This builds on other collaborations between businesses and universities including Ablaze, Teach First, Academy Ambassadors, the Learning City Initiative, the West of England LEP and the Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust.
“With today’s news that four out of five businesses believe work experience is the answer but a third still not offering any placements, we urge more businesses to open their doors to help bridge the skills gap. Meeting the needs of employers both now and in the future is a priority for the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative and Business West, and we encourage more businesses to get involved. The government must also play its part by bringing back compulsory work experience for under 16s.”
For information on ‘Your Future’ events in the South West, contact Phil Bridgeman in the Business West membership team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 980 2789.