A JOINT managing director at Coventry’s largest training provider has highlighted the importance of work experience to coincide with the topic’s awareness week.
Fleur Sexton, who works for Westwood-based PET-Xi, has been instrumental in providing work experience opportunities and guiding youngsters in the right direction en route to employment.
For many young people, work experience is their first contact with an employer and an invaluable opportunity to discover more about what a particular career is really like.
Figures revealed by the British Chamber of Commerce last year discovered that 79 per cent of employers ranked work experience as the most important activity to equip young people with workplace skills.
Fleur said the main aim of Work Experience Week for her is to promote the values of work experience to other people.
She added: “We’re massive fans of work experience.
“I’m a strong believer that the same opportunities should be made available to all people – work experience is all about businesses coming together, it’s their responsibility.
“Before becoming an employee it’s often vital that you see different aspects of the various roles within a company, that’s what work experience is all about.”
PET-Xi have even got involved in the work experience ‘craze’ by inviting Exhall Grange student Joshua Fleming into its offices to work in the company’s IT department.
Since his experience, Joshua has received his GCSE results and now studies IT at Hereward College – using experience gained during work experience on a daily basis.
Fleur said: “We work closely with teachers and schools and help provide some old fashioned role models who pass on their love for the job.
“On an employability side work experience is massive.
“It can help teach some of the basic work rules we often take for granted – things like turning up on time, dressing smart, keeping your head cool if you’re late.
“All of these skills can combine to make someone a much better person in the workplace.”
A seperate survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation revealed that 95% of recruiters say that companies are ‘fearful’ or ‘unsure’ about hiring disabled candidates.
Fleur believes it’s important every child – able-bodied or not – has the opportunity to gain work experience, which is also a vital factor in helping to reduce youth unemployment.
She said: “It’s certainly easier to get into work experience now that before, young people are very enthusiastic and want to gain experience to help with their CV.
“It’s almost a case of there’s never enough to go around.
“But now there’s lots of businesses backing work experience which is superb and with more people on board it can help build a community.”