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REC lead partner on government campaign promoting work experience

Two thirds of employers say that work experience is a crucial factor when hiring staff – more than those who prioritise academic qualifications – according to UK Commission for Employment and Skills Commission (UKCES) research.

In a first of its kind, the government is launching the & lsquo;WE can’ campaign, in which 84 & lsquo;Youth Ambassadors’ from the Youth Experience UK (YEUK), will give advice on how others can set up their own work experience placements and make the most of their time in a business setting, as the government also teams up with industry body the Recruitment and Employment Confederation to highlight the benefits of work experience.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said, “Young people tell me they can’t get a job without work experience, but they can’t get work experience without a job.

“That is why we are launching the WE can campaign to give young people practical advice about making the most of their summer holidays – and beyond - to gain valuable business skills. 

“With 14 million jobs likely to open up in the UK in the next decade, this one nation government wants young people to be at the forefront of the opportunities to get the best start in life.”

The new & lsquo;WE can’ campaign aims support young people make the most of those, by incorporating work experience into their career plans.

It is being launched ahead of GCSE and A-Level results from this week will be supported by up to 12,000 young people who are party of the Youth Employment UK network – led by their 84 Youth Ambassadors from across the country.

The campaign will encourage them the chance to take & lsquo;workies’ – the work version of a selfie – to demonstrate to their friends at school, college and university how the new skills they have picked up during work experience has helped them in their career.

Young people can share their stories, top tips for finding work experience and the top three things they learned by using the #WEcan hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And the government has teamed up with the REC and YEUK, who are dedicated to tackling youth employment in the UK.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said, “Last month, we found the number of people placed into permanent jobs via recruitment agencies increased for the thirty-fourth month in a row. But feedback from recruiters is that it’s becoming more difficult to find people with the right skills to fill the job vacancies.

“Business, government and educators must all play a part in helping young people understand the world of work so they can secure the jobs being created.

“Encouraging more young people to see the value of work experience is just the first step. That is why the REC is delighted to be part of the WE can campaign.”

YEUK chief executive Laura-Jane Rawlings said, “Many of our Young Members tell us that having some experience of work whether that is a part-time job or volunteering has made the difference between getting a job or not.

“Helping young people to embrace the opportunities for work experience and encouraging employers to create those opportunities is essential if we are to see a real move to stamping out youth unemployment and bridging the skills gap.

“The exciting thing about this campaign is the input of young people. That’s why we are delighted to be supporting the WE can campaign.”

WE Can has already been backed by around 30 national companies, with the aim of 100 in the coming months, and organisations with the aim of encouraging businesses to create new work experience opportunities for young people. They include:

Lead campaign partners Youth Employment UK (YEUK) and the The Recruitment and Employment Conference

Other supporters include:


Big Lottery Fund

Bourne Leisure


Marks and Spencer



Career Ready UK


Food and Drink Federation

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

BPS Recruitment and

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

The launch comes as the employment rate of 16 to 24-year-olds who have left full-time education is at the highest in nearly 10 years – it has risen above levels seen before the recession to 73.4 per cent. Overall youth unemployment has fallen to its lowest since 2008.


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