Work Experience: Not just for the under 25's

Work experience isn’t just for under 25s

Fourteen 19 shows the benefits of offering work experience

Employers have a common misconception that they should only offer work experience to graduates and young students looking for a placement.

In the Leeds City Region unemployment rates for adults over 25 are high. There are 24,625 residents over 25 years old unemployed in the Leeds city region whilst the number of 18-24 year olds who are unemployed is at 9,145 as of February 2018.

The Office for National Statistics reported from November 2017 to January 2018, there are 363,000 people who had been unemployed for over a year across the UK (ONS)

The Challenge

Employers look to review a continuous working timeline on a candidates CV as a priority, often shortlisting on this information alone.

The local labour market is competitive, having as much experience as possible on a CV gives candidates an edge over those with long term unemployment gaps.

Because of this companies are missing out on recruiting an untouched source of talent. With people falling short at the first hurdle of an application form.

So how can businesses support these individuals back into work?

Fourteen19® a youth marketing company based in Elland recognised the benefits of the supporting people in gaining the right skills and experience for returning to the workplace after having long term unemployment gaps.

They decided to offer an opportunity to local resident who started her career in the creative department at Hallmark cards. In this role she designed greeting cards that we bought and sent around the world. In 2010, she left the company to raise her two children, but is now looking to get back into employment. Caroline had reached out to the company for the chance to update her skills.

After being out of work for 9 years she managed to miss the period of development where all creative functions became computerised and Apple Macs replaced sketch books, lightboxes and the art of graphic design. Being unable to use the core design software that is now standard in all creative organisations and departments meant Caroline couldn’t get back into the job that she was previously qualified and experienced to do.

Graham Sykes, Head of Agency: "Caroline absolutely smashed it. We were conscious to manage expectations and we gave her a project that we felt would push her but would be one that she was able to do. By working together we planned hours that suited both of us and as a result we were more than happy with the finished work and Caroline has built more confidence in returning to work in a similar environment. We wish her all the luck in her journey." 

What are the benefits?

Having a carefully thought out work experience programme for individuals wanting to update their skills. Enabling them to work on real projects means they get a true picture of what it is like to work in that industry and employers see the benefits.

Fourteen19® was able to;

  • Gain a fresh perspective on the projects and have new ideas bouncing around the team
  • Embrace a new recruitment strategy – seeing Caroline’s skills there and in the office the agency was able to see if she would fit well into the team and her ability to do the job
  • Current staff were able to develop their mentioning skills
  • Tap into the additional resource, for most SMEs this can be hard to acquire

Offering work experience forms an important part of a business’s ethos, corporate social responsibilities and identity by developing the skills of individuals or those that will be important to their industry.

If you would like to know more about offering work experience then you can speak to one of our job connectors contact Works Better or Call 01484 221000

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