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Not just making tea

Employers can help young people make their first step into the working world – especially if they ignore the common misconceptions about work experience.

29% of employers say that experience is critical when recruiting young people and a further 45% say it is significant. The majority of employers think young people are well prepared for work but where they don’t, this is down to lack of experience. Lack of experience is also the number one reason that employers turn young job applicants away .Offering work experience to young people could be the answer.

Although just 6% of employers mention red tape as a reason why they don’t offer work experience, even the perception of bureaucracy and health and safety regulations can put employers off. The government is working to cut down any red tape and make the process of recruiting and developing young people more transparent. For instance, employers do not need to carry out an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services (formerly CRB) check on members of staff supervising young people aged 16-17. If an education provider requests such a check for this group, employers would be entitled to refuse.

Employers’ liability insurance now covers work experience students, provided insurers are members of the Association of British Insurers. This can be confirmed with insurance companies.

Tempted? The Department for Education has some useful advice and guidance on work experience, including what meaningful work experience looks like and the different types that will be expected to take place as part of 16-19 study programmes: www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have developed a practical guide for employers on how to set up and run a high quality and successful work experience programme. www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy.

Business in the Community offers a toolkit to help employers design and deliver work inspiration programmes including one and five day templates. www.bitc.org.uk/programmes.