Work Experience Schemes

February 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The government’s work experience scheme has been under fire this week with several companies including Burger King, Waterstones and Sainsbury’s pulling out of the initiative after it received heavy criticism from opponents who have branded the programme as ‘slave labour’.

The premise of the scheme is to give unemployed 16-24 year olds experience in a working environment for 2-8 weeks. Although participants don’t receive payment for their work, they do continue to receive benefits and in some cases job prospects are available at the end.

But concerns have arisen after it was announced that employees who didn’t attend their work placements would have their benefits docked. Further sparks have flown as opponents argued that leading companies should not expect people to work for no payment under any circumstances.

sainsbury work experience placements

Sainsbury's have pulled out of the scheme

As a business owner myself I firstly have to say that I am a support of the work experience scheme as I strongly believe that people should contribute to society and ultimately work for their benefits. Secondary I believe that work experience is a crucial part of a young person’s life as it’s an opportunity to learn new skills and gain confidence in your own abilities.  

Although my business isn’t involved in this particular scheme we do actively take part in work placements with schools in the local area, welcoming pupils into the work place for several weeks each year.

This process is extremely enjoyable for me and the team as it’s an opportunity to work with bright young people. But it’s also incredibly time consuming and takes a lot of effort for all involved to create a worthwhile experience. An element which I think people should bear in mind when slamming companies who are willing to take on unemployed youngsters.

Tesco work experience

Supermarket Tesco have adjusted their Work Placement policy

I’d personally like to see more compassion shown towards the hundreds of young people who take on unpaid internships, where big brands often use innovation ideas from talented young graduates to their own advantage. I believe that this is a real example of exploitation in young people and an issue that should be addressed.

I hope that people will come around to the work placement scheme and truly take the time to consider the scheme’s benefits- experience in a new environment, opportunity to network and ultimately the prospect of a career as the scheme could change a young person’s life forever.

I’d be interested in hearing your views of the governments work placement scheme…

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