The Youth Select Committee has launched a new inquiry into barriers to work experience. The Committee is calling for evidence from a wide range of witnesses, including businesses and charities, as well as young people who have been directly affected by these barriers.

The announcement comes as a YouGov poll reveals more than two-thirds of young people (71 per cent) are expecting it to be tougher to find a job in 2030 with 58 per cent of all 11-18 year olds citing a lack of work experience as a barrier.

And research from the House of Commons library has given even greater cause for concern, as recent data shows more than half a million young people are unemployed (excluding those in full time education).

What is the Youth Select Committee?

Now in its seventh year, the Youth Select Committee is a British Youth Council initiative, supported by the House of Commons. The eleven committee members are aged 11-18 and include Members of the UK Youth Parliament, Youth Councillors, and representatives from each of the devolved nations. Access to work experience was voted one of the top issues affecting young people in last year’s Make Your Mark ballot – the largest annual consultation of young people in the UK.

This year, the committee will look at issues including:

  • What does good quality work experience look like? What do young people and businesses expect to get from it?
  • How important is good quality work experience to successful industrial strategy?
  • What evidence is there that work experience boosts social mobility?

The Youth Select Committee call for evidence closes on Monday 18th June 2018 and the Committee will hold oral evidence sessions in the House of Commons in July.  

Who can submit evidence?

The Committee would welcome submissions from a wide range of stakeholders, including young people and the organisations that support them, businesses and schools.

The Committee is particularly interested in hearing about the differing experiences of groups of young people experience in making the most of work experience (eg. due to ethnicity, gender, disability, socioeconomic background and geographic location) and how these might be overcome.

Submissions may address any or all of the following questions:


  1. What does “good quality work experience” look like? What do young people and businesses expect to get from it?
  2. How important is good quality work experience to a successful industrial strategy?
  3. What evidence is there that work experience boosts social mobility?

Young people

  1. How do differences between young people (eg. geographic location, socioeconomic background, ethnicity, disability) affect the work experience opportunities they people have?
  2. How could resources to help young people find out about and access work experience be improved?

Schools and businesses

  1. Should compulsory work experience for under-16s be reinstated? What is the right age for work experience within compulsory education: 14-16 or 16-18?
  2. How could schools and colleges be better supported to help their students access quality work experience?
  3. Are services to help schools and colleges develop relationships with businesses working well? How could they be improved?
  4. How could barriers to businesses (including small businesses) offering work experience be overcome?
  5. What does good practice in offering, advertising and recruiting for work experience look like, and how can businesses be encouraged to follow it?
  6. Does work experience benefit businesses? What are the motivations for businesses to offer work experience?

Other services and organisations

  1. What role should the Government have in ensuring young people have access to quality work experience?
  2. Should the Government invest in resources to help young people find work experience independently? What would these resources ideally look like?
  3. How could private and third sector organisations be better supported and encouraged to help young people access quality work experience?
  4. What lessons can be learned from the approaches of the devolved administrations and other countries to work experience?

How can evidence be submitted?

Evidence can be submitted by contacting the British Youth Council.

Those interested can also submit evidence directly to Parliament via post to Clerk of the Youth Select Committee c/o Work and Pensions Committee, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA.

Evidence that is submitted will be published on the British Youth Council website. However, the British Youth Council do reserve the right to redact evidence partially or in full should it contain information we consider to be libellous.

If you do not wish your name to be published then please indicate this when you submit your evidence.

Further Information

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