As I write this blog the Fair Train team is undertaking its final preparations for Work Experience Week 2015. Work Experience Week, which this year spans 12-16th October, is a national celebration of the benefits which high quality work experience can bring – to both the participant, and the employer.
Almost 70% of employers cite work experience as one of the most important things they look for during recruitment. However, only 1 in 4 employers offers any sort of work experience, so there is an obvious mismatch here. Fair Train was set up to help tackle this gap, and one of the ways that we do this is by organising a national Work Experience Week, to celebrate the range of activities which take place and to help to drive up the quantity of high quality work experience programmes available.
This week will see a myriad of activities, from organisations being awarded their Work Experience Quality Standard accreditation at the House of Commons launch event, to taster sessions to encourage young people to try different career ideas. One learning provider is hosting a thank you event for all of the employers that offer work experience to their students, whilst an employer is hosting supported interns within its business – young people with special educational needs, who will be supported with the aim of entering paid employment. The range of activities is diverse, limited only by the imagination, and it is not too late to join in.
Five ways to get involved with Work Experience Week 2015
1. Do you offer high quality work experience at any point during the year? Download the template press release from http://www.fairtrain.org/weweek/toolkit, and bring your story to life by featuring a case study demonstrating the power of work experience in action.
2. Follow @FairTrainOrg on Twitter, and see the vast range of activities taking place this week for inspiration. Use the hashtag #WEWeek2015 to join the conversation.
3. Use the Work Experience Quality Standard framework to benchmark your own work experience provision against that of other employers and learning providers, and see how you shape up. What ONE thing could you implement this week to increase the quality of your provision?
4. Fair Train is working closely with a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Coventry and Warwickshire LEP has high quality work experience built into its skills strategy, and is running a Jobs and Skills Fair as part of Work Experience Week, in partnership with Fair Train. Contact your local LEP and raise awareness of the importance of high quality work experience, and how this can be an effective way of tackling unemployment in your local area. Could your LEP include references to high quality work experience and use the Work Experience Quality Standard as a tool within its own strategy documents?
5. Would you like to run an event but don’t have enough time this week? Download our free events planning pack from http://www.fairtrain.org/weweek/toolkit to help you plan something for later in the month, send the details through to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will help you promote it.
The Work Experience Week toolkit gives you a range of handy hints and advice to help you make the most of Work Experience Week, from social media tips to templates and links to further information. It can be downloaded free of charge from http://www.fairtrain.org/weweek/toolkit. Sign up here to receive information about the different themes during the week, including access to resources which will be launched each day.
We are delighted to be working in partnership with ERSA, and welcoming Kirsty McHugh as a Work Experience Week champion. I am looking forward to a great week, and I hope you will join us in making a massive difference to young people, job seekers and employers.
Beth Gardner, CEO – Fair Train