For those in the know, work experience is a vital but often overlooked and neglected piece of the Further Education jigsaw.
That’s why, as of now, the time is right for a new conversation between education providers and employers – and students, too – about how it must be a crucial link between the classroom and the workplace.
The concept is clear - why would any student or learner dive into the employment deep end of a sector or industry they had not first dipped their toes into to ensure it suited their career designs?
Likewise, only an employer overly confident in their business – or perhaps oblivious to best practice – would employ a college-leaver who is anything but knowing of what a job with them entails.
If these three interested parties work together, then work experience will rightly be high on the agenda.
And I would suggest it is more important now than ever, due to the government shifting focus toward a greater partnership of colleges and employers to upskill the latest generation of workers.
It means all sides must be far more proactive in joining the dots between the classroom and the workplace.
Work experience, once taken for granted among schoolchildren, is high on the agenda at Tyne Coast College.
New T Levels and the pre-eminence of apprenticeships as tools to boost students’ work-ready skills mean optimising opportunities for learners to taste life in the workplace is vital.
This message has been quiet, it hasn’t been talked about above a whisper, but it’s time colleges and employers came together to boost work experience opportunities for young people.
In doing so there’s a far greater chance the right people will move into the right jobs, thereby creating better opportunities for businesses to flourish, in good times and bad.