On Saturday I bumped into an old friend in Brockwell Park. We discovered our kids are at the same school and his son is doing work experience in February.
“Has he sorted anything out?” I asked. (The schools round here leave it to students to find their own placements so work experience is a bit of a lottery.)
“We have a friend who is an environmental consultant, so yes.”
“Oh that’s good” I replied.
We looked at each other.
“Yes, it’s alright for us” he said “but what about the other kids?”
Too right, what about them?
Sadly, work experience has become a middle class networking challenge, rather than a basic entitlement.
A good work experience placement can be an inspiring opportunity for a young person to explore future possibilities and test themselves in the real world.
Making a journey into central London, experiencing a workplace, finding out about different jobs and seeing how adults behave at work – all crucial experiences which open young minds.
When a placement works well, young people come back buzzing with excitement and with a renewed motivation to work for their exams.
At Raw Talent, we think good quality work experience should be an entitlement for all. There are some basic ingredients:
- matching employer and student so there is commitment from both sides
- preparation so the student understands expectations
- a structured programme with opportunities to practise work related skills through a mini-project
- employer feedback, including strengths and areas for development, which students receive and reflect on.
Raw Talent is piloting our new approach with 15 students at Elmgreen School. These are students who have ambition but lack the social connections or confidence to secure a good opportunity on their own.
We will measure the impact on the students emotional capabilities and employability skills to see the difference a supported, structured programme can make to their life chances.
But first – we need a good selection of inspiring opportunities for our students.
If you can offer a weeks work experience placement to a year 10 student on 8-12th February 2016, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.