When you were younger or if you are young did you ever have a dream? That when you left school you would enter into the job of your dreams! My Granddad was in the airforce as part of his national service and my fondest childhood memories involved going to many an air show looking at and watching planes fly through the air. Of Course, sadly my dream of becoming a pilot never came to be, but the help my school gave me in my work experience placement did help me in identifying my skills and a practical placement that kept me on track to becoming a Social Worker today!
However, a few weeks ago I was speaking with my cousin and I asked her about her work experience placement. “I have not got one, I have to find my own!” I was shocked, the value of these work experience placements is far greater than the paperwork needed to complete them! And today the difficulties are further described in an article by the BBC.
The report from the Education and Employers Taskforce and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and with a foreword by Mr Lightman, says work experience makes a big difference to the career paths of young people. BBC
The significance of using personal social networks to create work experience placements further creates social disadvantage. Furthermore, without encouragement could prevent many young people for pushing themselves to challenge the system and lift themselves out of their current situation. Also with 1.8 million children living in Workless families what is their opportunity to find work?
I know from my own personal circumstances that without the insight work experience gave me that I would not be where I am today. Moreover, the cut backs have crippled and removed in many places the carers support that Connexions offered. Compulsory education is being extended to 18 years of age and part of this could be an apprenticeship, but what is the meaningful outcome of this if there is more blocks than supports to young people trying to find work.
The challenge is to prevent young people from becoming NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training). The impact upon the young persons self esteem in having a Job is significant in the rest of their lives and their ability to contribute to society.
Perhaps their needs to be a rethink of the process involved with work experience to make it easier for schools and employers to take young people on. It most definitely should not be a ‘Work Fair’ scheme but a meaningful learning process that encourages further learning and young people being able to obtain better outcomes for themselves!