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…

Unemployment – Older Workers

February 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Many people including myself had hoped to see signs of recovery in the economy during 2012. However a review of current unemployment figures has display the opposite. Unemployed in the UK has risen to 2.67 million and analysts have predicted that it will rise to 3 million by the end of 2012.

It would seem that those aged 50 plus are particularly getting a rough ride and more specifically women of this age group. It was reported today that 1 million women are currently unemployed, the highest statistic for the past 20 years.

Although the media often focuses on younger people who are struggling to get onto the career ladder.  I feel that we shouldn’t ignore the older section of society who are finding it hard to secure employment.

older worker aged 50 plus

Older workers find it difficult to get a job

Generally those aged 50 plus have excellent experience both in the work place and life generally, and sadly many are unemployed through no fault of their own. Redundancies have risen significantly in recent years causing lots of established employees to fall victim to economic hardship.  

So how can you secure a job aged 50 plus? I would recommend using all of your contacts. If you’ve got a little black book of contacts from previous positions dig it out and see if there is anyone who can help you out. And if you’re online create a LinkedIn profile which allows you to create a digital history of your professional experience and connect with people you’ve worked with in the past.

Alternatively volunteering is an excellent option as it strengthens your potential – from experience voluntary work is encouraging to an employer- plus the social aspect offers more opportunities. I recall that good old saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.

Volunteer picture

Volunteering is one option to consider

There are plenty of voluntary opportunities across the country but locally The Douglas Macmillan is always looking for willing volunteers. The Dougie Mac offer a variety of voluntary position so there is something for everyone regardless of knowledge, experience or skill.

When you do find a job remember that it can be more sustainable than you might think. Since last October it became illegal for an employer to force an employee into retirement, meaning that older people can work for longer. This may make some people shiver but if you’ve been out of work for a while, or don’t want to give up the ghost just yet, it’s worth knowing that you can work for as long as you feel fit too.

Age UK recently ran a feature on older people re-embarking into the world of work.

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