The REC has today called on Government to rethink plans to remove compulsory work experience for GCSE students. Enhancing awareness of the world of work was a core message of the REC’s Youth Employment Taskforce and the feedback from recruiters confirms that more needs to be done to prepare future generations of workers.
The Department for Education is currently consulting on plans to remove the statutory requirement for 14 to 16 year olds to complete at least two weeks of work experience. Other employer bodies such as the Forum of Private Business (FBP) have also underlined the need to maintain and enhance practical experience of the workplace.
Tom Hadley, the REC’s Director of Policy and Professional Services, says:
“The feedback from recruitment professionals is that we need to do more to prepare young people for the workplace not less. Practical work experience is a key part of building better bridges into the labour market.
“Even short stints with employers provide a crucial eye-opener and can help young people make more informed decisions about future studies and career paths. It is also about understanding what businesses are looking for not only in terms of skills and qualifications but also in terms of attitude.
“We are currently asking employers and recruiters to step up and help make a difference through business led initiatives. Our own Youth Employment Charter for the recruitment industry is just one example of this. However, it is crucial that schools continue to play their part. The benefits of work experience for students need to be actively promoted not demoted.”