Work experience has been in the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons! Used correctly work experience can be an invaluable learning experience for young people looking to get on the employment ladder or for the older generation wishing to change careers.
Are they exploitative? I think that depends on how they are used. Asking them to come and sweep up the shop floor when they are supposed to be gaining experience in web design would be clear exploitation; asking them to watch an expert at work and give input is surely worth its weight in gold in this competitive employment market.
Our economy is in a mess and our unemployment figures just keep increasing. Young people are told that without experience they can’t get a job and they can’t get experience because they can’t get a job. I think employers should be doing more to encourage young people not deter them from working.
As an employer I want to see people who have shown initiative in gaining experience in their field whether this was paid or not.
Work experience can provide them with an insight into their chosen career, this can also help them realise whether it is the right choice for them. The governments work experience scheme has taken several hits lately and I do appreciate there are definitely some flaws.
There obviously needs to be clear guidelines, companies advertising 12 week unpaid work placements suggests that they just don’t want to pay a temporary work during a particularly busy period.
There are various companies that run a year round “intern” policy, I don’t agree with this, it sounds like companies taking advantage of employees who are desperate to get some work experience but when does it stop becoming work experience and start becoming slave labour?
For me, work placement is a proven way of giving young people their first step on the employment ladder. This should be a couple of weeks learning the ropes and working out whether this is the career for them.
From a recruitment viewpoint a youngster who has applied to different companies requesting some experience shows they are keen and creative with a willingness to learn.
What more do you want from a young recruit? The public are reacting to a scandal that as far as I can see does not exist. The Get Britain Working work experience programme is targeted specifically to unemployed 16 to 24 year olds and offers them unpaid placements ranging to two to eight weeks. This could be a real chance for young people to boost their confidence and skills and get them back on the employment ladder.