Schools and businesses favour return of compulsory work experience, survey finds

Schools and businesses favour return of compulsory work experience, survey finds

School leaders and businesses have joined voices today to urge the Government to bring back compulsory work experience for pupils under 16.

A survey published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found 82 per cent of businesses and 73 per cent of schools, colleges and universities supported work experience for pupils under 16.

Compulsory work experience was scrapped by the Government in September 2012.

The Business and Education survey has called for that decision to be reversed as part of the chamber’s campaign to bridge the gap between business and education so young people are better prepared for work.

John Longworth, director general of the BCC, said: “Business and school leaders are clear: we won’t bridge the gap between the world of education and the world of work unless young people spend time in workplaces while still at school.

It was careless of Government to end compulsory work experience in 2012, but it is not too late to correct the mistake

“It was careless of Government to end compulsory work experience in 2012, but it is not too late to correct the mistake – and work with companies and schools to ensure that every school pupil has the chance to feel the energy, dynamism, buzz and challenge of the workplace for themselves.”

Two schools that support the campaign are St Albans Girls’ School, in Hertfordshire, and Walkden High School, in Greater Manchester.

St Albans offers bespoke careers advice fairs where business are invited into the school and pupils are involved in work experience schemes from Year 7.

Mr Longworth added: “Work experience … will help close the yawning skills gaps reported by frustrated businesses across the UK, who face huge difficulty filling vacancies at every level.”WorkExperience

The survey ran from July to August this year. A total of 306 responses were from schools, colleges and universities and 3,246 from businesses.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has welcomed the findings, and called on the government to rebuild careers advisory services that have been lost under cuts.

“As well as reversing these ill-conceived policy decisions, Government should take steps to ensure that all young people have access to learning about and from workers from a range of industries and employment sectors.”