From education to employment

Celebrities back charity’s call for work experience in state schools

students walking through gate

The household names argue that everyone should have a work experience story, yet two thirds of young people left school without one

Star chef Tom Kerridge, business leaders Deborah Meaden and Mary Portas, TV presenter Steph McGovern, comedian Guz Khan are just some of the celebrities that have come together to back Speakers for Schools‘ campaign to make work experience accessible for all.

In a new star-studded film, the household names recount their own work experience stories, and how they shaped their trajectory to the top, reinforcing the importance of doing work experience as a tool for fuelling aspiration and ambition.

Guz Khan, comedian and actor, said:

Work experience is so important for young people. It teaches you about life and a career in the space of a week. It might show you what you don’t want to do when you leave school, or it might uncover something that will give you a crystal-clear direction. Either way, state school kids deserve to at least access work experience.”

Speakers for Schools believes every young person should have a work experience story to tell, with its research proving a link to improved employment outcomes and salary potential, yet two thirds of 16–18-year-olds left school without completing any. The social mobility charity’s research also shows that people who attended private education were twice as likely to have done multiple work placements compared to young people from state-funded colleges. 

In 2012 the Department of Education (DfE) removed statutory duty placed on schools to deliver work experience, which has since created a declining trend in access and quality to work experience across the UK.

Speakers for Schools is working to change this, urging all political parties to commit to a minimum of two work experience placements for every state-educated young person in England. While the Labour Party has formally pledged two weeks’ work experience. 

The awareness-raising campaign is designed to level the playing field, targeting the younger generation and their parents.

Robert Peston, Founder of Speakers of Schools comments:

The importance of our rallying call for high-quality work experience to be a right, not a privilege, for all state-school children is demonstrated by the number of influential figures who volunteered to help.  The aims of the campaign are to make the public aware that state-school students are at a disadvantage and to give parents, educators, employers and of course the children themselves the tools to do something about it. Our research shows that if delivered effectively, work experience has a significant and positive impact on skills development, employment outcomes and future salary potential. Everyone deserves a work experience story regardless of background, who your parents know or what school you go to.”

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