Monday, 3 April 2017


NFER produced a brilliant resource which should be read by all senior leaders in schools and colleges. It reinforces the fact that meaningful experience of the world of work needs to be part of an entitlement for all young people. These top tips are at the heart of the Cutlers' 'Better Learners, Better Workers' programme.
The report contains seven 'top tips':

  • Proactively engage with the needs of local employers and work in partnership with them
  • Develop work experience activities, and young people’s broader experience of the world of work, in partnership with local employers.
  • Aim to ensure that students gain ‘hands on’ experience and develop the skills that local employers need.
  • Nurture long- term relationships with employers.
  • Embed a structured programme of work experience, enterprise and/or work placement activities
  • Adopt a structured approach to embedding activities that will raise young people’s awareness and experience of the world of work across all departments or faculties within your institution.
  • Implement a structured programme of activities to ensure that students are able to get the best out of work placement activities, are better prepared for work and supported to find productive employment following their studies.
  • Create work experience models that provide mutual benefits for your young people and local employers
  • Identify a local need and work with local employers to grow a flexible solution that benefits all parties.
  • Use innovative approaches to adapt work experience opportunities to local context.
  • Be open to working with a wide variety of partners.
  • Actively involve employers to prepare young people prior to work experience
  • Invite local employers to support the preparation of young people for their work experience placement.
  • Prepare young people for their placements by ensuring they have a mindset that will support them to proactively engage with employers before, during and after a placement.
  • Ensure there is ‘best fit’ between the young person and the employer offering the placement.
  • Have a well-regulated system to record, monitor and review work experience
  • Evaluate your work experience offer to ensure it is meeting its objectives and is reviewed regularly.
  • Set up a system for young people to reflect on their experiences and how they have benefitted them.
  • Ensure that young people are engaged in relevant, current and valued work experience
  • Highlight the importance of young people being involved in real pieces of work or projects that are valued and used by employers so their experience has a real purpose.
  • Ensure work experience reflects current needs in terms of jobs and skills needed at present in the workplace.
  • Encourage work experience to reflect practice in the workplace so young people work as employees and adopt the codes and conventions of the workplace in contrast to behaving as students in the workplace.
  • Develop a dedicated team led by a senior leader
  • In creating a dedicated team, aim to develop an approach to work experience which offers an extensive experience of the world of work for all young people and embed it across your whole institution.
  • Ensure that the dedicated team has the active leadership of a senior leader who also has dedicated, ring fenced time allocated to the role and can provide strategic direction.

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