From education to employment

The DfE post-16 work experience and enterprise education guidance explained

As we know, delivery of work experience and enterprise education will form an integral part of the 16-19 study programmes from September 2013. The recent guidance Post-16 work experience and enterprise education published by the Department for Education begins to outline what meaningful work experience should consist of, and highlights the importance of a clearer focus on enterprise education in schools.

According to the DfE, colleges are expected to display a cross-college strategy to deliver both meaningful work experience and enterprise education to all learners. The Department for Education are expecting colleges to have high aspirations for learners, setting high standards to be achieved through challenging, contextualised, highly relevant work experience and enterprise activities.

A clearer focus on ‘Enterprise Education’

‘The DfE expect that schools and colleges will increase their engagement with employers and incorporate a range of enterprise activities that will complement the vocational and academic qualifications and work experience that students undertake as part of their study programme. ‘

According the DfE, good examples of enterprise education activities include workplace visits, enterprise projects, mentoring, work shadowing and workshops. The new funding flexibilities will enable colleges to embed enterprise related activities such as these into their full time curriculum, enhancing the employability and progression prospects of their learners.

Delivering meaningful work experience solutions

‘Schools and colleges will be expected to offer their students high quality and meaningful work experience as part of their 16-19 study programme to give the student a valuable experience of the work environment and develop their employability skills. ‘

The DfE defines meaningful work experience as ‘purposeful, substantial and meaningful.’ Work experience must be relevant to the young person’s study programme and/or career aspirations and should be well managed, with up front clarity about the roles, responsibilities and the expectations for both the student and employer.

Developing a comprehensive employer engagement and enrichment strategy

Please click here to read a case study about Chichester College’s approach to develop a comprehensive employer engagement and enterprise enrichment strategy that meets DfE requirements.

We feel we have an important role to play in guiding and supporting our partner colleges at this time of reform. We have developed a series of case studies exploring how a range of colleges are adapting to the study programme requirements.

Dr. James Lott is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Working Knowledge, a social enterprise that creates chances for young people to open doors into employment. They offer a range of value-added work experience, enterprise and employability services to Further Education Colleges that engage employers


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