Employers urged to provide more work experience

One fifth of employers say that nothing could persuade them to provide work experience placements to young people, according to a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The study surveyed 18,000 employers and found that many businesses have no plans to offer work placements, despite 66% saying that experience is essential when recruiting new staff.

Under a third of employers are currently offering work experience programs to educational institutions. 20% give placements to young people at school while 12% provide them to work experience to college students.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that youth unemployment stood at 16.9% in November 2014. Despite this, employers are still struggling to fill around a fifth of job vacancies.

The report describes the large regional disparities as a "postcode lottery" for people looking for work experience:

  • 41-46% of employers in areas such as Liverpool, East Anglia and London offer work experience
  • 29% of employers in the Humber region offer placements
  • 22-25% of employers in areas such as Dorset and Oxfordshire provide careers support for young people
  • 11-13% of employers in Devon and Somerset offer career support.

The report concludes that many young people are "caught in a Catch-22 situation" where they cannot get work without experience and cannot get experience without work.

Michael Davis, chief executive of UKCES, said:

"Young people are already facing increasingly difficult conditions finding their way into the workplace, and the news that these factors can be further compounded based simply on location is disheartening."

Marcus Mason, employment and skills policy manager at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Chambers of Commerce across the country are already working to bridge the gap between the world of work and the world of education, to ensure that young people in all parts of the country have access to quality work experience and placements."

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