Learning from experience

Think tank: Social Market Foundation

Author(s): Niamh O Regan; Aveek Bhattacharya

March 2, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at how to make high quality work experience for all a reality.

This report from Social Market Foundation think-tank provides a roadmap for rolling out high quality, universal work experience to students in England, in a way that is both equitable and does not compromise quality. The past decade has brought a decline in the number of school students in England participating in work experience. Far too many have to rely on their parents’ connections to get worthwhile and beneficial experiences. Now, there are growing calls for or work experience to be accessible for all – and there is a need to examine how this might be done. Work experience for all is achievable and affordable: we estimate it is likely to cost around £75 million a year to deliver. Universal work experience is a good aim, but pushed through hastily, it could have negative unintended consequences – potentially becoming a ‘tick box’ exercise, or crowding out placements for T Levels students The role of local brokerage organisations is crucial. They should be tasked with engaging employers, with a single organisation assigned responsibility for coordination in each local area. The government should also support participation in work experience for employers by standardising bureaucratic requirements. It should also establish a single platform to collate work experience opportunities available to young people across the country, with a particular focus on digital placements Working up to universalism means that work experience can be rolled out to prioritise the disadvantaged.