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Employment minister backs CIPD's work experience charter

The minister for employment Chris Grayling (pictured) has urged employers to sign up to a new work experience charter published by the CIPD.

Highlighting the enormous benefits to young people, employers and society of good work experience, and coinciding with the announcement that new funding is available from today to employers as part of the Government's Youth Contract, Grayling called for more employers to get involved in offering work experience.

The charter, part of more detailed guidance for employers on how to deliver quality work experience placements for young people, reflects the high standards that hundreds of employers who offer work experience already adhere to and is designed to encourage more employers to help young people break the vicious cycle of no experience, no job. The guide also includes examples of employers offering work experience.

Employers who follow the guide and commit to the charter will be delivering ten key principles, including tailoring placements to individual needs, ensuring they give young people a solid introduction to working life, and communicating with young people about the role they will play in the organisation, what is expected of them and what they can expect in return in terms of support, supervision and mentoring. The full guide and charter can be viewed here.

Grayling said: "This CIPD guide highlights the immense contribution employers are making to young people and society by offering high quality work experience. Offering young people work experience is a moral and economic imperative both for Government and for employers.

"The employers' charter CIPD have included in their guide recognises the high standards most employers offering work experience already have in place. By setting out good and fair principles for work experience, I hope the CIPD charter will become a kitemark for quality - and reassure young people and employers alike that they have everything to gain from working together on work experience. This is good for young people and good for business."

Katerina Rüdiger, skills policy adviser at CIPD, added: "Work experience works - for young people, business and society. The firms we've worked with in producing this guidance, and many more besides, are delivering high-quality work experience that brings real, long-term benefits for young people and society as a whole - benefits which should be celebrated, championed and used as a powerful call for more organisations to offer more work experience.

"Work experience helps young people make the transition from education to working life by informing their career choices and helping them to find the confidence to present their existing skills and capabilities in a way that fits with what employers are actually looking for.

"While we know some employers remain reluctant to employ young people, we've also seen clearly that employers who offer work experience placements have found them to be a powerful two-way process that has changed their own attitudes to young people; both employers and young people participating in schemes give something and get something back.

"Employers are genuinely concerned to achieve the best possible outcome for the young person, and see it as their duty to help improve access to the labour market, but they also recognise the benefits for themselves, in terms of developing a talent pipeline for their business. We hope that by showcasing some of the schemes already in place, we can build awareness of the enormous benefits being delivered by employers who are putting time and effort into delivering high-quality work experience, and encourage many more to follow suit."

Tom Hadley, director of policy & professional services at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said: "The Youth Contract recognises the need to meet the youth unemployment challenge head on and reflects recommendations put forward by the REC's Youth Employment Taskforce - including financial incentives for employers. The fact that these only apply to job-seekers on the Government's Work Programme may limit the impact, and wage incentives are only part of the solution as the overriding priority for business is to ensure that young people have the skills, competencies and commitment to make a difference.

"Looking ahead, employers and recruiters can play a leading role by working with schools and colleges to build better bridges into the world of work. The business community is committed to playing its part but Government can do more to develop a careers support and guidance network that enables young people to make more informed choices.

"The REC will continue to galvanise the involvement of the UK's £25 billion recruitment industry through our Youth Employment Charter and to showcase the positive contribution that recruiters are already making".