Labour Calls For Compulsory Work Experience To Be Brought Back For All Teenagers

14/08/2014 16:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

Labour's Stephen Twigg calls for compulsory work experience for all school children

Labour wants to make work experience compulsory again for all children in secondary school.

The Telegraph reports that Labour wants to get teenagers ready for employment by making all pupils undertake work placements for at least two week before they leave school.

Since last year work experience has been optional, and shadow ministers say that many students end up doing little more than 'making tea' and 'photocopying'. They say that high quality work place experience is vital for their education and employment prospects.

Labour will publish an interim report they have commissioned on the future of 14-to-19 education on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of its publication, Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg said there was a 'massive gap in this country between the world of education and the world of work'.

He called for work experience to be reinstated in some form, and said that two weeks might not even be enough.

"Giving young people that chance to see a real workplace is really fantastic and if anything two weeks isn't enough," he said, while admitting that in the past, the 'quality of it varied'.

"Certainly there were cases where people were in a workplace just making a cup of tea and doing the photocopying, but actually there were also brilliant examples of workplaces that did it really, really well," he said.

The Government abolished compulsory work experience last year, as part of a review into vocational education by Professor Alison Wolf from Kings' College.

A Department for Education spokesperson told the Telegraph that they were still giving young people the skills they needed both for further education and employment.

"Raising the participation age to 18 and expanding work experience post-16 will give all students the chance to complete high-quality, relevant work placements," the spokesperson said.

"We accepted Alison Wolf's recommendation to remove the duty on schools to provide work experience for pupils under 16s. Schools continue to have the freedom to offer quality work experience."

What do you think? Did you benefit from work experience? Have your children?


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