Real-world work experience 

At the Impact Collective — the network of social impact consultants I work with — we’ve published a new case study outlining what we did for the national charity The Challenge.

The Challenge describes itself as a national charity aiming to ‘build a more integrated society’. Its founders set up the National Citizen Service, a government-funded programme that brings together 15-17 year-olds from different schools/backgrounds; to date, 400,000 young people have taken part. I met some of them two years ago while facilitating a few NCS workshops in photography/video; the workshops involve not only practising a new skill but also using it to engage with the wider community: elderly people, adults with special needs or young children.

Anyway, at the Impact Collective we helped The Challenge to deliver another project, which focuses on a reform of the UK’s technical education curriculum. Among the changes is better quality work experience. Typically, work placements for school or college students have been short and superficial (I remember, aged 17, spending just one week with my local newspaper). The new T-Levels — the technical education equivalent of A-Levels — are instead introducing a compulsory 45-day minimum placement with a relevant organisation.

The 25+ user-focused resources we produced, based on pilot placements and focus groups, will hopefully help schools/colleges, employers, students and parents to make these new industry placements a success. That should mean more confident, skilled and job-ready young people leaving education — and employers who can find the workforce they need.

Download the resources on the Association of Colleges website.