Calls for government action on ‘unequal’ work experience

The Youth Select Committee yesterday published its report into barriers faced by young people accessing work experience, calling for a better framework linked to the Industrial Strategy.

Young people in various work uniforms
The report, Realising the Potential of Work Experience, follows selection of this issue by thousands of voters in the 2017 Make Your Mark ballot, which is designed to give the UK’s young people a voice, and was launched during UK Parliament Week.

The need for better access to quality work experience

With workplace inclusion high on the business agenda as skills shortages bite and social justice on policymakers’ minds, access to quality work experience addresses needs on all sides.A YouGov poll earlier this year revealed 71% of young people expect finding a job to be tougher in 2030. Over half (58%) of 11-18 year olds surveyed also cited citing a lack of work experience as a barrier.

'Who you and where you live determine work experience opportunities'

Among the Youth Select Committee’s key findings and recommendations include the observation that access to good quality work experience remains patchy and inconsistent, despite recent reforms.The investigations by the select committee — a joint initiative between Parliament and the British Youth Council comprising 11 committee members aged 11-18 who are UK Youth Parliament members, Youth Councillors, Young Mayors and representatives from devolved nations — found that “who you are, where you live and where you go to school is associated with the kind and quality of work experience that you are likely to be able to access.”Stark inequalities associated with socio-economic background, health and disability, gender, ethnicity and location also remain.
Related news and features from Relocate Global:

Calls for independent review into work experience for disadvantaged young people

The Department for Education’s current approach of using benchmarks and working with the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) to improve quality and consistency is promising, but not yet proven it adds.The committee is therefore calling on the Department for Education to commission a full, independent review into the CEC’s impact on access to work experience for the most disadvantaged young people.

Embedding work experience into the Industrial Strategy

It says the government also needs to do more to integrate work experience — in all its forms — with its Industrial Strategy, and that the government should work with schools, business and young people to develop a quality benchmarking scheme for businesses offering work experience.Claudia Quinn, Chair of the Youth Select Committee, said: “Following our extensive inquiry, we have concluded the Government need to address the patchy, unequal nature of young people’s access to work experience. The Government must act now to ensure the most disadvantaged young people can access high quality work experience.”

Future-proofing the UK economy

Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “From questioning business leaders to charity experts, the Youth Select Committee spent months investigating how high-quality work experience can help future-proof the UK’s economy."The result is a detailed report which again shows how essential the committee is in representing the views of our country’s future, now more than ever. I am delighted to see the launch of this report, and I am confident my Parliamentary colleagues will consider its conclusions. I am also certain it will provide an invaluable contribution to the wider discussions in this area.”Head to our Education and Schools section for more news and insight.  
Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.
Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory