• Opening up work experience, increasing opportunities

Why is work experience so important?

At the age of 14-16, young people are already making life choices that will impact their careers for years to come. Yet too many state school students without parental networks do not have access to valuable work experience opportunities at this crucial age, or those that need it the most may take work experience placements that only reinforce existing assumptions of what is available to them.

Even with the amazing internships, graduate schemes and similar on offer today, many employers recognise the need to reach students earlier to change the current landscape of diversity and access into their industry or profession. Work experience is most students’ first foray into the professional world, and helps shape their perceptions about their own abilities and options for their future.

Access to work experience was named as a top conclusion by All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility for increasing access to the professions, as well citing the importance of “less London-centric” work experience options, calling on companies to increase regional outreach and to cover travel costs.

How work experience helps both students and employers

  • Broadening horizons of students without networks or exposure to certain industries and professions to help give them direction and inspiration
  • Demystifying industries and assumptions about what is available or how to get into them
  • Encouraging diversity in the industry by inspiring a range of young people earlier in their decision making to consider more industries/disciplines
  • Offering invaluable preparation by giving students early exposure to workplace etiquette and expectations such as punctuality and having a good attitude
  • Increasing understanding of practical pathways after school, such as apprenticeships and training programmes
  • Engaging managers and staff in the organisation’s vision for future talent and providing staff with inspiring interactions with fresh perspectives alongside the management of young people
  • Tying in with an organisations social/corporate responsibility by engaging with the local community and offering opportunities to students
  • Improving overall prospects of young people by offering early exposure to the world of work, a range of professionals, key expectations and transferable skills

The Evidence


“Many (work experience placements) arose solely because the pupils’ parents were well connected to a range of professions and could secure a placement for their child.” - Ofsted’s 2016 'Getting ready for work' Enterprise and Employability report


In a Speakers for Schools annual survey 89% of our state schools told us they either offer or require students to source work experience, yet only 30% of employers offer school work experience (UKCES).

The recent report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Mobility with the Sutton Trust named work experience as the top conclusion for increasing social mobility as well citing the importance of “less London-centric” work experience options, calling on companies to increase regional outreach and to cover travel costs.


32% of this year’s entry-level positions in the 100 most successful UK employers are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for the organisation through placements and internships.” - The 2016 High Fliers Report on access routes into leading employers