Schools + businesses = opportunities for students

The best way for students to understand what the working world is like, is to jump right in, and experience it first-hand! 

As children grow up, their decisions about future careers are of the upmost importance. However, in a recent report by Ofsted, it was revealed that a significant amount of students are unprepared for the workplace due to inadequate resources and a lack of emphasis on work-related learning.

Without the exposure of real experience and work placements, we are inevitably setting students up for failure, resulting in over 80 per cent requiring “significant training” before being put to work (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).

Another Ofsted report also revealed that inspectors found a majority of schools did not consider work-related education important, and had weak links with local businesses. Similarly, many businesses revealed that they do not offer work experience due to time constraints, budgetary restrictions, additional administration and a lack of succinct information. Employers were critical of schools that approached them without a clear agenda, which meant they were less likely to agree to the work experience.

This, of course, has a negative impact on students who, as a result, miss out on real experience and will be at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job post-education; leaving school without the skills, knowledge or confidence to help them decide which path to follow.

Therefore, what we need to concentrate on is presenting students with the right opportunities to build a range of transferrable skills that can be applied to a wide variety of industries.

It’s crucial that schools understand the importance of collaborating with local businesses to not only benefit the students, but also the employers themselves. Giving students access to industry professionals, or exposing them to everyday life in a working environment will give them the best experience and understanding of what will be expected of them in the future, and how best to prepare for it. 

The role technology can play

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all provide platforms for people to connect, create relationships and develop career opportunities. If you take the same concept and apply it to schools and businesses, where students are properly matched up with companies or industries that complement their personal interests or skills, then not only will they gain a great deal from the experience, but the businesses will too.  

Using a specialised school portal will provide ample non-biased, and diverse opportunities, meaning that every child is given a fair shot at gaining work experience, rather than solely the select few because of who they know. Staff can then identify relevant placements, monitor students’ performance, and make sure businesses are working with students who are genuinely interested in their particular sector.

Most importantly, however, is ensuring students have a say in their own future. Having a portal that allows them to build their own profile, means they are able to note down their likes and dislikes, and assess which careers fit their current skills and interests. For example, if a student has a particular interest in community work, then perhaps a local school or police station would be best placed for them. This opportunity can then be managed by the school to ensure both the student and the business are benefiting from the work placement.  

Ultimately, we need to ensure students are prepared and confident in choosing their future careers and the only way to do this is to equip them with first-hand experience and knowledge; and that can only come from established relationships between schools and businesses.

For more information on how MINTclass can provide schools with a work experience system, visit: www.mintclass.com