Students without work experience fear job-hunting

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:29 25 September 2016

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Employers say students’ work experience could be the solution to a growing skills gap – but only 61 per cent of schools in the South West offer their students support securing placements.

A new report released by Chartered Management Institute (CMI) says 60 per cent of young people in the South West worry about finding work experience.

It is no longer compulsory in the UK for students to complete placements while in full-time education, even though it helps them gain vital skills in their chosen field of work.

More than half of young people in the South West struggle to gain the experience they need to be hired, according to the report.

Chief executive and principal of Weston College, Dr Paul Phillips, said he was not surprised by the findings.

He told the Mercury only colleges and universities which offer a wide range of courses and work experience opportunities will provide what students are looking for.

He said: “In my view it is only institutions that offer a diverse range of routes that will meet the aspirations of young people.”

Employers are also struggling to find capable and experienced students to fill vacancies.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found 62 per cent of engineering employers say graduates don’t have the right skills for today’s workplace.

The organisation has growing concerns about the education system and reported 50 per cent of employers found a new engineering and technology recruit did not meet their reasonable expectations.

The IET has launched a new campaign which it hopes will see businesses collaborating with colleges and universities to offer quality work experience to engineering students.

The IET reported 76 per cent of employers agreed compelling engineering companies to provide work experience would improve the pool of talent available to them.

CMI has taken on a similar campaign in partnership with the EY Foundation charity to get schools and employers to back a school-to-work agenda as part of the national curriculum.

The agenda will include a new syllabus providing students aged 11 to 18 with support.

Weston College already works with North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College to support students in finding apprenticeships and placements.

Dr Phillips said: “Nearly all our students achieve jobs at the end of their studies. I feel we have the answer on our doorstep for the future aspirations and work experience needs of young people.”


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