By Daniel Hunter

A pilot scheme to put employers in touch with sixth formers seeking to undertake a work experience placement has been launched by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Stockport.

The FSB has partnered with Cheadle Hulme High School’s recently opened sixth form centre for the project. If successful, the FSB plans to roll the scheme out with other colleges across the wider Greater Manchester region.

The project is open to both FSB members and non members alike, and will see the details of any firm interested in joining the scheme entered in to a database, including the types of placement they could offer youngsters, the work that would be involved, and the types of skills students could expect to learn. Sixth formers will then be able to select and make contact with the businesses and offer their services.

Simon Edmondson, Regional Chairman for the FSB in Manchester & North Cheshire, said: “At its broadest and best, work experience can open young people’s eyes to jobs they have never thought of, and help inform career decisions. Work experience is also a great opportunity for students to prove themselves to an employer and learn the attitudes and behaviours expected at work.

He added: “Work experience can also be useful for employers too, giving small businesses access to a wide talent pool to draw from when recruiting, and a good talent pipeline to build on.

“Young people can often bring verve, passion and an all important fresh perspective to businesses, and of course existing staff benefit from the chance to work with and manage others. It’s win-win all round,” he added.

The college runs one week of work experience from 13th to 17th July, and is currently looking to match students to businesses in the Stockport area, or areas within a reasonable commutable distance.

CHHS Head of Sixth Form, Emma Geddis, welcome the collaboration with the FSB: “Meaningful work experience is an invaluable experience for the students, and for many the first time they have been in a workplace situation.

“They will usually gain enormously from the opportunity to put into place the skills they have acquired over their education and to experience new challenges to take them out of their comfort zone.

“I would urge all business owners out there to think if they could offer a student a place.”

Any businesses looking to take part should email details to FSB Development Manager for Manchester & North Cheshire, robert.downes@fsb.org.uk