Hugh Baird College is celebrating Work Experience Week from 10th to 14th October with students out on work placements with employers across the region. Study Programme Lead at the College, John Kendal, said: “With more than a hundred learners from all areas of the College taking part in work experience this week alone, we are keen to thank the many employers who offer students valuable chances to become work ready by offering placements and apprenticeships. From Travel and the Visitor Economy students helping on the City Explorer Liverpool open top bus, to Learning for Life students working at Plaza Cinema, local and regional employers offer supportive and informative placements where students get a taste of the career they’re aiming for.” Schools and colleges no longer have a legal requirement to provide work experience to all of their learners, which has led to patchy provision and a ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to quality. This means that certain sectors are experiencing severe skills shortages combined with an ageing workforce. One of the ways that Hugh Baird College is helping to address this is by ensuring that every student enrols not just on a vocational qualification, but on an individually tailored ‘study programme’ designed to meet their learning needs and provide the knowledge, skills and attributes required for employment. Work experience plays a vital role in the study programmes offered to all Hugh Baird College students. Combined with their chosen vocational qualification, enrichment, employability skills, maths and English, all students at Hugh Baird College are offered a chance to spend time developing their skills in a real working environment. According to Fair Train, more than half of employers report a lack of work experience and work readiness as an area of weakness among school leavers, whilst 66% of employers say that work experience is the most important factor when recruiting. For these reasons, Work Experience Week is dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of high quality work experience. It is a fantastic opportunity for organisations across the country to host activities showcasing their work experience provision, and to demonstrate the difference a high quality placement can make to an individual’s employment prospects and life. John added: “Whilst there is a particular focus surrounding Fair Train’s Work Experience Week, the College’s emphasis on work experience opportunities continues throughout the year with some life changing results. For example, we see students from our L20 Hotel School hospitality and catering courses working with chefs from some of the region’s top hotels and restaurants, adding Michelin starred and AA rosette kitchens to their list of work experience. In some cases, the benefits go far beyond a healthy CV, with lots of examples of employers offering students permanent employment after their placement ends.” Motor Mechanic, Chris Tracy, attended Hugh Baird College to study towards a Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair and completed his work experience at Ditchburn Trucks. Chris said:“The time on work experience gave me a chance to show what I could do. I was offered a job with Ditchburn and they were happy for me to complete my level three course at College. I started working on days that I wasn’t in college and I am now working full time.” Jessica Rexworthy, Head of Learning and Skills at Fair Train, commented: “Work experience is vital for learners of all ages – from school leavers to those who are long term unemployed – in helping individuals get closer to the labour market and secure employment. It is also vital for businesses, as it allows them to develop a diverse talent pipeline and recruit employees who have a range of well-developed employability skills. Work Experience Week provides a platform to celebrate these successes and allows organisations such as Hugh Baird College to commend their partner organisations/work experience providers who not only are making a difference to the lives of individuals but also leading the way in developing high quality work experience provision.” If you would like to find out more about the study programmes available for your chosen career pathway, contact the Student Advice Team at Hugh Baird College on 0151 353 4444 or visit www.hughbaird.ac.uk.