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Help London employers to boost work experience opportunities

One third of London businesses currently offer work experience opportunities to young people, according to research commissioned by London Councils, with larger employers more likely than SMEs to have a scheme in place.

One third of London businesses currently offer work experience opportunities to young people, according to research commissioned by London Councils, with larger employers more likely than SMEs to have a scheme in place. 

When asked what businesses could gain by providing work experience opportunities to young people aged 13-19, 42 per cent of larger organisations surveyed said it improves their reputation among young people and 32 per cent of SMEs said it brings an injection of energy and optimism as well as fresh ideas.

More than 600 businesses across the capital were surveyed by YouGov on behalf of London Councils to explore their views on work experience and understand what can be done to make it easier to provide young people with meaningful experiences of work from an early age.

London employers who responded to the survey indicated that the biggest barrier to them offering work experience to young people is not having enough tasks that were suitable for their level. 

Yet the poll also revealed that demand for recruiting young people is high in London – 68 per cent of employers surveyed had taken on at least one young person in the last 12 months and of those 93 per cent are happy with the hire.

Cllr Peter John OBE, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member for Business, Skills and Brexit, said:

“It is vital for the continued success of our economy that more London businesses open their doors to 13-19 year olds in the capital by offering a variety of work experience opportunities.

“Having the chance to gain meaningful insights into the world of work from an early age boosts young people’s understanding, confidence and ambition, helping them to become more successful workers in the future. 81 per cent of all businesses surveyed agreed that when young people gain experiences of work, it improves their employability.

“One third of London employers currently provide some form of work experience, but we’re encouraging more businesses to commit to providing opportunities for school children and young people at college, and diversifying the types of work experience they offer. We’re also calling on schools, colleges and London boroughs to play their part in boosting work experience opportunities in London.”

The report concludes that to assist employers with overcoming barriers to offering young Londoners experiences of the world of work, it would be valuable to provide them with information, advice and guidance on: 

  • What work experience should look like
  • The benefits to organisations of offering work experience
  • How to set up a scheme
  • Making work experience meaningful

London Councils has long championed the benefits of work experience opportunities through London Ambitions, which aims to transform careers advice and guidance in London. One of London Ambitions’ core recommendations is that all young people in London build up 100 hours of experiences of the world of work by the time they leave school. 

Visit www.londoncouncils.gov.uk to read the report on the survey of London businesses in full and recommendations for businesses, schools, colleges and London boroughs.

Visit www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/londonambitionscareers to find out more about London Ambitions.