Extended Opportunities, Increasing Impact with Work Experience
Speakers for Schools: Extending Opportunities, Increasing Impact with Work Experience
| Our new programme
S4SNextGen is a new, free programme from Speakers for Schools created to be an advertising and application portal for Speakers for Schools affiliated organisations to engage with state school and college students through high-quality workplace experiences. It aims to build on the brilliant commitment of our leading, high-profile speakers by helping state schools access their esteemed organisations with much-needed work experience for the students who need it the most.
**Please note, in March 2017 the programme will become available in limited areas with plans to grow into a nation-wide programme. Find out if we are live in your area yet by visiting ‘Taking Part’**
| Why we started with work experience
At the age of 15-16, 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.
The recent report from 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.
Expanding and opening up access:
- Available to leading employers and state secondary schools/colleges, free of charge
- Tools for employers to create new programme or pair with existing provision for placements
- Helps teachers have unique access point for students who need these opportunities the most
S4SNextGen was built to help link limited, special opportunities with the students that need it the most – those without links to the professions and who need this invaluable experience to help them realise their potential. It works well to aid both employers and schools in existing efforts to place students, or it can help get your programme off the ground.
For schools, this is a resource for those students who you know have potential but will need a valuable work experience placement to set them up for success in their next steps. Such placements from leading organisations, will provide any young person transferable skills and a glimpse into what is expected in the professional world.
For employers, we are working with our speakers’ leading organisations to offer a free online marketplace and tools to help improve the reach and targeting of existing programmes or help employers new to work experience. S4SNextGen helps employers extend their outreach programmes to the less-connected state schools, and links in well with future talent and social responsibility (CSR) programmes, to encourage respective industry diversity by building inroads and skills earlier for more young people. As an additional benefit of the S4SNextGen network, employers can access and share best practice on how employers feasible and worthwhile for organisations, schools and students alike.
“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, Annual Report 2015/16
| 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
“We gave them an opportunity to experience different sides of the business and they really impressed us with their professionalism, willingness to learn and enthusiasm throughout.”
Sally, Pearson Qualifications