Government over plans to ditch school work experience placements
THE Forum of Private
Business has expressed concern at government proposals to scrap
mandatory work experience for GCSE pupils.
The not-for-profit support group warned in a letter to the
Department for Education; which is currently consulting on plans to
remove the statutory requirement for Key Stage 4 (14 to 16 year olds)
pupils to complete at least 2 weeks of work experience; that doing
so will further reduce the number of work-ready youngsters entering
the job market.
In fact, the Forum says that far from removing the current
provision, the Government should be looking at expanding work
experience placements to further ready youngsters on the brink of
starting their working lives.
The Forum’s Head of Campaigns, Jane Bennett, said:- "We
believe work experience is vital in helping to prepare young people
for the world of work. There’s no better place than a proper
working environment to test out a career choice, and it’s also by
far the best arena for young adults to learn the skills so critical
If small businesses in the private sector are to lead job creation
and tackle unemployment, they need a better labour force that
includes young, ambitious and talented individuals who know what it
takes to thrive in the workplace. Our training and skills panel research shows our members already
believe young people in the UK are largely unprepared for the
workplace. New starters frequently arrive with few or no basic
skills, and need guidance on even simple things such as appropriate
dress code and punctuality – the very basics of a work ethic.
Business owners also frequently point out that young people are
taught no first aid or health and safety skills, and together these
types of inadequacies make them very resource intensive.
Our research with businesses also identifies poor attitude as a
common problem. Class hours and a lenient view of absence during
their schooling often means many new starters are unwilling to work
unsocial hours, get up early, or even make it in on time. Owners
have also cited instances of new recruits refusing to carry out
menial tasks they considered beneath them.
Quite frankly, we need more work experience, not less, to help break
down these types of immature mindsets and attitudes.
Work-linked learning can also be extraordinarily powerful in
engaging students who are bored or turned off by conventional
classroom teaching. It’s hard to see how any plan to reduce work
experience for school pupils fits with Government’s pledge to
significantly increase the number of apprenticeships."
The Forum’s letter does, however, welcome the Government’s proposals
to improve vocational programmes for young people, which it says is
vital to fulfil employee requirements of small firms. It also
welcomed plans for improved links between educators and local
"Training and skills providers have traditionally been poor at
engaging with small businesses. This has improved in some areas, but provision still remains
patchy. We have already highlighted this as a problem area before
and have called for greater engagement, so fully support the
Department’s current proposals." added Miss Bennett.
New Year New
Experiences - Could you be a Cultural Champion in 2012?
WITH the arrival of the New
Year comes the opportunity to experience Liverpool’s inspiring arts
and culture, enjoy a whirlwind year full of exciting events and new
experiences, plus a chance to have your say and express your own
creativity with the people around you. Could you be a Cultural
Champion for 2012?
In 2010, Liverpool City Council launched the Cultural Champions
scheme as a legacy to the city’s tenure as 2008 European Capital of
Cultural. Following the success of the initial scheme, the Cultural
Champions programme is now set to continue for 2012 through
Liverpool social enterprise Open Culture on behalf of Culture
Liverpool is an inspiring place, which is bursting at the seams with
world-class galleries, museums, performance venues and heritage
sites. The Cultural Champions scheme celebrates and promotes
Liverpool’s cultural life by supporting the Cultural Champions to
get involved and experience more of what the city has to offer,
whilst creating their own commentary on the city’s arts and culture.
Prospective champions can be from any part of Liverpool, from any
background, don’t need to be active in arts and culture just have
bags of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Why not nominate
yourself or somebody you know?
The new scheme will build on the strengths of 2010’s programme
informed by the experiences of the outgoing champions who are: Paul
Argent from Mossley Hill, Kristal Clarke from Wavertree, Donna
Williamson from Vauxhall, Barbara McGrouther from Old Swan and Becky
Smith from Alt Valley. During their voluntary reign as champions
they blogged about their cultural comings and goings, represented
the city at major events, met dignitaries and started their own
personal cultural events and campaigns.
Barbara McGrouther 2010 Cultural Champion said:- "I have
enjoyed every minute of being a Cultural Champion, and have gained
new friends, new skills and learned even more about the city I love.
I think that any person interested in people, community, and the
arts, who can give time and passion to the role would have a year to
remember for the rest of their lives. I recommend everyone to have a
go – nominate – and make it happen. It could change your life for
Charlotte Corrie, Open Culture Director said:- "We’ll be
seeking people with great enthusiasm for Liverpool’s arts and
culture, but with not necessarily a great amount of experience in
the arts. They just need an interest in new experiences and learning
and to be aged 16 or over. We will be guiding the 2012 champions
through an exciting year of cultural experiences, learning and
giving them the means and platforms to express their ideas and
opinions about the arts publicly, whether that’s online, in person
or through newspapers and the radio!”
Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool’s cabinet member for culture and
tourism said:- “This scheme has been a great success. It’s
unique in what it aims to do and the outgoing champions have been
fantastic, owning their roles and developing their niches based on
their own passions. We are very much looking forward to the new
scheme to start and I’m glad Open Culture is on-board to take it to
the next level."
To nominate a Cultural Champion logon to the
website or request
nomination details via
email or calling Open Culture on:- 0151
Deadline for nominations is Midnight,
on Sunday, 12 February 2012.