Work Experience Week 2015: Evidence from NFER highlights effective practice in providing quality work experience
14 October 2015
NFER evidence indicates that the quality of work experience is of critical importance whether the work experience is provided for 16-to-19 year olds as part of study programmes, or to young people pre-16 years old.
According to research, this should include:
- Employing (where possible) work experience coordinators to establish and develop relationships with employers and coordinates placements
- Effective coordination, matching of students to placements, ensuring students and employers are well-prepared for placements, and ensuring flexibility in terms of the timing of placements are important steps in ensuring quality work experience.
Our research evidence highlights the importance of developing direct relationships between schools, colleges and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), so transparency and mutual benefits are priorities. Just as education providers need to understand the pressures on businesses, SMEs need to appreciate the way the education environment works. This can be achieved through more dialogue, open-mindedness, and flexible methods of engagement to broker and sustain engagement that is meaningful for everyone.
Looking ahead, young people need broad experience of the world of work to develop and enhance their employability skills. Examples of effective practice include:
- Schools and colleges responding proactively to the needs of local employers and work in partnership with them. This includes active involvement of employers in preparing young people prior to work experience placements, involvement of young people in real pieces of work or projects that are valued and used by employers and reflect current workplace demands
- Development of well regulated, monitored and structured programmes of work experience, enterprise and/or work placement activities that are tailored to the needs of students and employers
- Work experience models that are creatively and innovatively developed to provide benefits for schools and colleges, young people and employers
- The establishment of a dedicated team, proactively led by a member of the senior leadership team that develops and expands work experience opportunities (as part of young people’s extensive experience of the world of work).
More information on these reports: