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Concerns over work experience being scrapped in York


12:00am 14th January 2012

City of York Council's education leaders are hoping to persuade the government not to remove the requirement for schools to provide work-related learning to students aged 15 and 16.

The council has responded to a national consultation which seeks views on plans to 'remove the requirement for schools to provide work related learning for all students aged 14 to 16 in school years 10 and 11 ( Key Stage 4)

Work related learning can include a range of activities, for example:

  • Learning how business operates
  • Improving employability and entrepreneurial skills
  • Visits to industry and businesses
  • Work shadowing
  • Part time work
  • And traditional work experience where currently students will typically spend one or two weeks out of school in a work environment

City of York Council's education leaders firmly believe that the continuation of work related learning for all young people in the city's secondary schools is important.  

The council's overriding concern is that removing the requirement to deliver work related learning may well lead to a considerable reduction of these opportunities for young people.  This will not be of benefit to our young people or future employers.

The authority has doubts about whether the removal of this duty will be beneficial, stating that the 'development of enterprise and employability skills in our young people should continue to be a high priority for schools in Key Stage 4.' The authority has also expressed concerns that young people with learning difficulties and disabilities may be at particular risk if the duty is removed.

The most visible aspect of work related learning to parents and employers is the traditional one or two week block work experience usually undertaken by young people in either Year 10 or Year 11.

Councillor Janet Looker, Cabinet member for Education, Children and Young People's Services, City of York Council, said:

"Work experience is a valuable life experience for pupils studying for their GCSEs, allowing them to experience the 'world of work' in a safe environment and, in many cases, helping them develop plans for their future careers. I would be very keen to see the requirement for schools to provide work related learning including work experience to be retained."

Councillor James Alexander, Labour leader of City of York Council and Vice Chair of the Leeds City Region Employment and Skills Board, said:

"In such a competitive job market, any work experience as part of work related learning can play a major role in helping young people secure their first job. I believe that we should be providing even more support to help pupils who are planning to leave school after their GCSEs to enter the job market, not less."

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