As a parent, I am keen for my child to get proper work experience within a corporate environment; as an employer I am keen that I hire suitably qualified staff who have real life work experience; but as an employer, can I provide the work experience that today’s youngsters need?
Knowing what employers value more is sometimes a difficult question, even for the employers themselves to answer. Do they want someone with an English degree or are they happy to take a 22 year old with 5 years work experience in an office environment?
At the end of the day, employers need to understand what skills and experience, knowledge and application a person would need to perform the job to the highest standards. There are plenty of teachers with a degree who have no idea how to interact effectively with young children, there are highly qualified doctors with no bedside manners at all and there are scientists with all the knowledge in the world, but no idea how to use their skill to help the world.
At the same time, there are businessmen who have no qualifications at all running some of the largest corporations in the world, there are healthcare assistants who bring light to the hearts of many and certainly have no formal training and there are nursery care assistants in whom we trust the care of our children who left school with only the minimal of qualifications, if we are lucky, yet they show a level of care and understanding that provides parents with security.
Being good at something is not just about studying the theory, it is knowing how to apply it and then practicing it again and again. There is a saying I have used for many many years: “Tell me and I will know, Show me and I will understand, involve me and I will remember” This applies to all aspects of life, but knowing how to behave in the workplace, how to turn up on time, dress appropriately, speak to people with respect and deliver on deadlines are all fundamental business skills that must not only be taught, but be practiced.
There are work experience schemes running in schools, collages and universities. If you are interested in finding out more about work experience, how to set up a scheme and what you would need to provide for a meaningful work experience ‘experience’, do not hesitate to get in touch.