Pauline Wade, Sarah Lynch, David Sims, Clare Southcott
04 October 2013
The Department for Education (DfE) funded an initiative that aimed to support young people to participate in high-quality work experience placements which Wolf recommended in her review of vocational education. DfE allocated funding to 25 colleges to test work experience placement models for 16-19 year olds. The colleges were located in specified areas with high levels of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and high proportions of level 2 or below students.
The overarching aim of the study was to evaluate different models of work experience placements for post-16 students, exploring the impact on students and employers and identifying lessons learned. The research comprised a scoping study, case studies with staff, students and employers linked to ten colleges offering varied approaches to work experience, analysis of management information data and an assessment of value for money.
- The key benefit of additional funding was widely perceived to be enabling colleges to employ work experience coordinators who were instrumental in establishing and developing relationships with employers and in coordinating placements.
- The work experience trial was widely perceived by students, colleges and employers to have helped develop the skills necessary for employment, including teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills, enabling students to be more work-ready.
- The principal factors contributing to successful work experience placements were: effective coordination, good matching of students to placements, ensuring students were well-prepared for placements, and flexibility in timing of placements.