Careers Wales and leading social mobility charity Speakers for Schools today announces a nationwide partnership, making work experience opportunities and inspirational career talks available to students in Wales aged 11-19 and in state education.
In a bid to help disadvantaged young people catch up post-Covid, this new partnership will help the next generation connect with employers across the UK and allow them to experience the world of work after 18 months of missed career opportunities.
It builds on the current work of Careers Wales which has 570 careers advisers, business engagement advisers andcareers and work-related experience co-ordinators in place to support young people with careers information, advice, guidance and opportunities to interact with employers. It also supports schools to help build the skills, knowledge, and confidence of teachers to deliver an effective careers programme.
In addition to its existing offer, Careers Wales can now make schools aware of the different work experience placements available through Speakers for Schools, varying in duration from one day to a full week.
The partnership will bring thousands of opportunities from leading businesses based across the UK such as Tesco, Spotify and Virgin Atlantic. The partnership will also provide access to its roster of high-calibre inspirational speakers who give frequent careers talks, including Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, through to former Prime Ministers and FTSE-100 CEOs.
The ability to undertake work experience virtually means students based even in the most rural parts of Wales can engage with employers located potentially hundreds of miles away, in cities such as London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “Work experience can be a really valuable chance for young people to find out more about what they’d like to study or do as a future career.
“Expanding opportunities for all young people is a priority for the Welsh Government so we very much welcome this exciting initiative.”
Nikki Lawrence, chief executive at Careers Wales, commented: “We want every young person to feel empowered and ready to take on the working world. As the impact of coronavirus sets in, it is more important than ever that young people are aware of the career opportunities that will be open to them in the future and are supported to develop the skills that will enable them to access these opportunities.
“We are delighted to partner with Speakers for Schools to open up a broader range of opportunities to young people. Not only will this offer them a taster of different industries and job roles, but also valuable experience, which is becoming more and more important for many employers.”
Sarah Cleveley, National Engagement Director, Speakers for Schools added: “This partnership with Careers Wales is the first of its kind, offering high-quality work experience to every state school across the country. The need to ramp up the provision of work experience has never been so vital, with Covid-19 causing so many young people to miss out.
“Providing virtual work experience means young people can connect with employers outside their locality, removing barriers such as travel and accommodation costs. It opens the door to thousands of new career opportunities for young people to experience the world of work, engaging with leading businesses and experts in their fields.”
Caitlin, 17, student from Pontyclun said: “I believe I’m fortunate to know what I want to do when I leave school and finding virtual work experience with Bentley Motors via Speakers for Schools has allowed me to learn more about the industry. Covid-19 had prevented me and many of my year group getting work experience, which is why programmes like Careers Wales and Speakers for Schools are so necessary to help explore careers whilst building up CVs. I remain worried about the increased competition for university next year, but getting work experience with companies like Bentley Motors boosts my confidence and helps to make my application stronger.”