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Don't miss out on valuable work experience.

EMPLOYERS in the region are missing out on the business benefits of taking on a school leaver or graduate for work experience, according to new research.

The Populus survey of 500 UK business leaders for the Backing Young Britain campaign claims although almost nine in 10 employers (87%) view work experience as good practice, over half (55%) feel it only benefits the individual and not their organisation.

Two in five businesses (41%) offer no placements at all despite the majority (69%) saying they are more likely to hire someone who has spent time in their organisation.

Even work experience completed elsewhere is seen as an asset for 43% of employers.

To help employers make the most of work experience, Backing Young Britain has teamed up with the Institute of Directors (IoD) to produce a factsheet for employers on how to ensure placements deliver genuine benefits.

Miles Templeman, director general of the IoD, said: "Skills underpin a productive economy, but the UK is facing an excellence challenge it is currently failing to meet. One of the key areas directors target for improvement is young people's employability skills: only a quarter of IoD members believe young people are well prepared for the world of work.

"Businesses can, and should, contribute to the effort to prepare students for employment and providing work experience is a valuable way of doing so.

"The majority of employers already offer work experience placements, but many do not and the practical barriers can appear substantial.

"Communicating to employers what they can contribute, and how, is vital. Equally important is continuing to improve the quality of work experience opportunities as well as increasing the quantity, which is why the IoD is pleased to have worked with the Backing Young Britain campaign on this employer factsheet."

The IOD factsheet includes contributions from businesses such as McDonalds and Channel 4 as well as entrepreneur Peter Jones.

Top tips include: * Planning ahead -think about forthcoming projects or staff holidays where a young person could provide essential resource. * Setting expectations - brief the young person in advance rather than once they arrive.

* Giving responsibility - give young people projects that help your business complete work you may not have been able to deliver without their support The complete factsheet Making Work Experience Work is available from the IoD's website at www.iod.com/backingyoungbritain
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 30, 2009
Words:389
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