Most children and young adults in the UK have access to multiple channels to help them to educate themselves. Clearly the majority of children attend school and those fortunate enough to be taught by inspiring teachers will do better than those that go through the system, pop out the end bemused, asking “what was that all about?”.

After a short period these people realise they have a problem and some will attempt to address it by going back into education, sadly most will not as they are so frustrated by the education system they simply don’t want to go anywhere need it again and unwittingly become a “NEET”

For NEETS’s the future starts to get bleak and often their prospects continue to decline as they are passed over by better education and often more determined people.

Being part of an open market removes barriers for many people willing and able to work in jobs that others might initially shun, forgetting that getting experience of work is an essential aspect for getting a job in the future. The Saturday job can’t be faulted as a first experience of work. Working as a volunteer is also brilliant way to experience work.

So does school education in the UK extend to encouraging children to get practical experience of work? Yes, in part for 16 to 19 age groups when they are better placed to begin preparation for progression into employment of higher education. But it’s typically not seen as the schools opportunity for the duration of the student’s time at their secondary school.

Professor Alison Wolf’s Review of Vocational Education 2011 specifically states “to enhance employability skills all young people should be able to gain real experience and knowledge of the workplace”.

The link is here but it is 197 pages long
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/180504/DFE-00031-2011.pdf

Shame is that many parents could provide access to practical experience of work but the administrative burden is beyond most schools to manage – so at the moment only 16-19 age groups are assessed by Ofsted who see experience of work as integral. It is understandable that secondary schools don’t sadly have an ongoing programme for students to get experience of work across all age groups.

So are schools missing a trick by not engaging with the wider community i.e. parents and local businesses? Yes is the short answer – engagement with the local business community is sporadic and continues to remain an issue but is essential.

Some schools manage it with a few companies that are able to engage with local schools, typically large national banks are good at this, with their local business managers going into secondary schools. It helps but is only touching the sides.

We feel education should extend to experience of work with the local business community which is somewhat overlooked and we are looking forward to starting to help to address this.