Work Experience and Work Placements: An Investigation of Effective Practice

Client: Department for Education

SQW, in partnership with NatCen Social Research, was commissioned by the Department for Education to provide up-to-date evidence on the provision and experience of work-related activities at schools and colleges in England.

The study followed the publication of updated guidance for 16-19 study programmes, which built on the work done following recommendations made in the Wolf review. The guidance advocates a period of work experience, or a more extended work placement, as a core part of programmes for all post-16 students, whether following an academic or a technical curriculum, in order to support them in developing their work readiness. Alongside the guidance for post-16 programmes, the government also revised its statutory guidance for schools, expecting schools to offer high quality work experience and encouraging them to engage fully with their local employer and professional community.

The overall aim of the study was to consider current provision and operational practice of work-related activities at schools and colleges in England. A mixed method approach was used, combining a survey of work experience coordinators/leads with school and college case studies. Stakeholders interviewed as part of the case studies included work experience leads, senior school and college staff, employers, brokers and external agents, parents/ carers and students. Both the survey and the case studies explored views, and experiences of, current provision.

The final report can be downloaded here.