Compulsory work experience should be put back on the school curriculum say 14-19 year olds.
In a survey of over 1000 teenagers carried out by the Career Colleges Trust, the overwhelming majority - 83% - think that work experience should be compulsory on their school / college curriculum, suggesting the Government was wrong to remove it from the curriculum in 2012.
In the North East region, 81% of respondents think work experience should be compulsory. Around a quarter (23%) reported not having done any work experience at school yet over half (59%) had proactively organised their own placement.
Nationally, more than two thirds (67%) of those asked believe work experience is beneficial for finding employment, with more than half (56%) saying that it allows you to learn valuable skills that are not taught in the classroom.
Traditional education environments including secondary and grammar schools, were highlighted in the research as being the least likely to offer work experience, with students at Career Colleges and FE Colleges taking part in far more work experience-related activities.
The survey also revealed that degrees are no longer felt by teenagers to be the most important thing for getting a job. Professional training (55%), relevant work experience (41%), a strong CV (40%) and good careers advice in school (22%) are viewed as having more value than just a degree qualification (19%).
In fact, to achieve the future career of their dreams, a proactive 92% of committed teenagers have or would consider taking a part time job, undertake work experience (90%), transfer to a specialist college (67%) or start an apprenticeship (72%).
Marcus Clinton, Principal of Northumberland College, said:
"At Northumberland College we prepare our youngsters for work through carefully chosen career pathways leading to employment in areas that help to close the productivity gap in our region. Our Career College students are able to start their journey on specialist technical routes earlier whilst still pursuing their core GCSE's which gives them an advantage over their peers who are studying a traditional GCSE programme in schools. Additionally, Career College students are also able to work with employers earlier and therefore gain the resilience and experience that will enable them to succeed in their chosen career pathways."
Ruth Gilbert, CEO of the Career Colleges Trust, said:
"It is clear from this research that today's teenagers in both the North East and the rest of the country, are desperate for good work experience opportunities and are very much aware of the benefit this will have on their future career.
"Schools are increasingly narrowing their curriculums, with more emphasis on academic subjects to meet Progress 8 measure and perform well in the league tables. This is having a negative effect on students who not only would benefit from a more vocational pathway but on ALL students who need experience of industry.
"Work experience is a key component of both the Government's Careers Strategy and T-Levels - yet it is not featuring on the curriculum at many schools. Career Colleges are leading the way with sector specialist, employer-led pathways and schools should be supported to follow suit and create a much clearer line of sight from education to employment.
"Crucially, our research shows that young people themselves WANT the opportunity to develop employability skills and recognise the importance of doing this. Schools, employers and the Government simply must work together to support this."
Anyone wishing to find out more about Northumberland Career College should visitwww.northumberlandcareercollege.co.uk for details of regular open events.