Transforming Work Experience into Work Inspiration - the business benefits

Transforming Work Experience into Work Inspiration
This report provides evidence of the business benefits of work experience, shares good practice and shows how different employers have overcome the challenges in offering work experience.

This report has been prepared by the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development on behalf of Business in the Community.

The research which informed this report was carried out in three stages:

  1. A literature review identified any existing research on the benefits of work experience for employers.

  2. A survey of employers who are signed up to Work Inspiration was carried out. 192 employers responded anonymously.

  3. Interviews were conducted for case studies of eight different organisations.

The evidence gathered through each stage has been used to illustrate the key business benefits from participating in Work Inspiration and work experience programmes more widely.

The available literature showed how, to date, much of the research has focused on the benefits to young people. Far less has been done to ascertain how businesses use work experience programmes as part of their own business planning.

This research identifies four key impact areas:

1. Employee development and engagement

Companies reported that their employees often benefit directly in terms of the skills they develop from managing and supporting young people on work experience. Often, employees also develop greater levels of satisfaction and engagement with their employer.

2. Diversity and talent

Employers have used Work Inspiration as a way of opening doors and encouraging young people from a range of different backgrounds to consider careers in their sector, for example attracting more women into engineering. This is particularly important for organisations which require a workforce that reflects and understands their client groups.

3. Business development

Particularly when it comes to winning public contracts, business engagement in local communities is viewed favourably by potential clients. Some of the businesses consulted in this report said their work experience programmes have won them business.

4. Community engagement

Work experience can help achieve profile – and not just with those they hope to employ in the future. Young people and their families are often also customers and their insights can be invaluable as a company seeks to position itself with its key market audiences. The best way of doing this, however, has been to ensure the integrity of the work experience placement.

Each of these themes is explored in more detail in the main body of this report.