By Claire West

Commenting on a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which found that 80 per cent of employers have no plans to take on young people for work experience, John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said:

“The frustration felt by young people when trying to find a job mirrors the frustration experienced by small firms when recruiting. Our research shows that 61 per cent of our members are not confident they will find a candidate with the right skills to perform the role.

“Small businesses often don’t know how to go about offering work experience, or find it difficult and time consuming. Yet it can be a really valuable way of connecting with young people and identifying staff to fill future vacancies.

“More emphasis needs to be placed on promoting the value of work experience and forging links between schools and business. A number of imaginative ideas tabled in Lord Young’s ‘Enterprise for All’ report last year should help, such as bringing in Enterprise Advisers to work closely with head teachers and Enterprise Passports to advertise a candidate’s range of skills to employers. The goal must be to get schools and local employers working together, on a shared agenda, to support young people and create a clear path from education to the world of work.”