Thursday, February 20, 2014

News: Reinventing work experience

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Julie Kenny of Rotherham-based Pyronix Ltd has highlighted the vital role that work experience can play for those young people desperate to get a foot on the career ladder.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has launched a report that aims to dispel the myths surrounding work experience. UKCES is a publicly funded, industry led organisation providing strategic leadership on skills and employment issues in the four home nations of the UK. It has offices in Manvers and brings together commissioners that include CEOs of large and small employers across a wide range of sectors. Julie Kenny, chair and chief executive of Rotherham-based Pyronix Limited is one of the commissioners.

The guide, "Not just making tea: Reinventing work experience" highlights common misconceptions surrounding the benefits of work experience and the value it can present to both employers and young people alike.

The latest findings from UKCES, based on interviews with over 90,000 employers, show the main reason employers think young people are unprepared for work is lack of experience. Further research shows that three quarters (74%) of employers claim experience is significant or critical when recruiting young people.

But despite the high demand for experience, just 27% of employers offer young people the chance to gain work experience.

Speaking at a launch event for the report, Julie Kenny, chair and chief executive at Pyronix and UKCES commissioner, said: "From meeting and working with young people it seems to me that there are two main barriers to them achieving their potential: lack of confidence and lack of ambition. That's why I'm passionate about opening young people's eyes to the vast range of opportunities available to them and exposing them to role models who can demonstrate that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

"There simply aren't enough employers inspiring young people or giving them opportunities for work experience.

"Work experience is far more than tea rounds and photocopying: it's about giving young people of all ages the skills, confidence and experience they need to progress into meaningful jobs.

"As employers, we are best placed to offer young people these opportunities. My business benefits from our investment in young people."

Based in Hellaby, Pyronix is an award-winning manufacturer with an extensive range of electronic security equipment for intruder alarms.

Work experience is a solution to the Catch 22 trap many young people and employers face – employers increasingly demand recruits with experience, but those potential recruits are struggling to get a foot on the ladder in order to gain that same experience.

Jenny Willott, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, said she welcomed the report and would encourage further research into the work experience on offer currently, and what it could look like in the future.

She said: "This report highlights the importance of good quality work experience for businesses as well as the young people that participate. Work experience can give young people the knowledge they need to help them begin their career. It also gives businesses the opportunity to recruit from a wide and diverse group of potential employees."

Pyronix website
UKCES website

Images: UKCES

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