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Give us more work experience chances, says Worcester pupils
YOUNGSTERS in Worcestershire are not being given the opportunities they need to gain experience in the workplace, a survey has found.
A study carried out by Worcester Youth Cabinet found 66 per cent of 14 and 15-year-olds in the county – those in year 10 at school – have not had the opportunity to carry out work experience.
The county council-funded organisation – made up of a group of elected people aged 11 to 18 – carried out the survey as part of their Skills for Life project, aiming to improve the employment prospects for young people across the county.
The group’s vice-chairman, 17-year-old Droitwich Sixth Form College student Rob Brewer, said he had completed a work placement at Birmingham Magistrates Court and thought it was extremely valuable.
But he said a more consistent approach was needed to work experience in schools in the county.
“I don’t think you can really make an informed decision about what you want to do until you’ve tried it,” he said.
“My brother worked in a pharmacist on his work experience and he’s now studying nursing at the University of Worcester.”
St Mary’s School pupil Romana Ali, aged 13, also sits on the cabinet and said she hoped she would be able to improve opportunities for people her own age.
“We want small businesses and schools to realise that the value of work experiences and help people do it,” she said.
Members of the cabinet recently presented their findings to members of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership at the headquarters of heating appliance firm Worcester Bosch.
The partnership’s executive director, Gary Woodman, said the group was currently working with schools and businesses in the county to improve opportunities for young people.
“For some businesses work experience is easy but for others it’s really difficult,” he said.
“Young people in Worcestershire should be given the widest possible opportunities to allow them to get into the world of work.”
Although the survey – which was responded to by more than 3,000 young people across the county – found those who had done work experience felt it was valuable, many also said careers advice at the schools should be improved.
The cabinet has recommended work experience should be promoted more heavily in schools and young people should be given more than the usual one or two-week period in which to carry out placements.
Worcestershire County Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Simon Geraghty, said: “The research undertaken by the youth cabinet gives a great insight into the issues younger people are facing and we are now using it to help shape our approach to the work underway to better link schools with local businesses.”