There is a clear link between work experience at school and job prospects in later life, according to a study.
A group of experts and policy makers have called for an increase in the quality and quantity of placements completed by children.
The report by the Education and Employers Taskforce charity and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), backed by employment minister Chris Grayling, highlighted the different benefits of work experience.
It found it could lead to clear and realistic career ambitions for 16-year-olds, which reduces the chances of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).
The report also found that 68% of teachers felt pupils returned from work experience more motivated to try harder at school, while two thirds of pupils said their placement helped them decide how to go about achieving their career goals.
Meanwhile one of the key results from a survey of head teachers by the Taskforce and the Times Educational Supplement - due to be released next week - showed that 48% of school leaders plan to change the way they provide work experience, with a further 25% considering changes.
Employment minister Chris Grayling said: "I strongly support the concept of work experience because of the significant impact it can have on job prospects for young people through giving them an insight into the world of work, together with practical skills and knowledge based in a real world environment.
"The work undertaken by the CIPD, UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the Education and Employers Taskforce lends valuable support to the view that work experience brings with it real benefits, in a number of ways, for all concerned.
"I have no hesitation in encouraging employers that are thinking about offering work experience to young people."
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said: "There is no doubt in my mind that work experience can make a significant difference to the motivation, attainment and progression of students.
"As a head teacher I have seen attitudes to school of many young people completely transformed as a result of their highly positive experience on a placement."