The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has called for an improvement to work experience in the UK, in order to help tackle youth unemployment and to help improve perceptions about the value of work placements.
The CIPD has partnered with Jobcentre Plus to launch "Work experience placements that work", a guide to help employers to improve the quality of the work experience that they offer.
The aim of the guide is to encourage employers to provide meaningful work experience that will give young jobseekers a foothold in the labour market. The CIPD says that the economic downturn has hit young people harder than any other group, with a large proportion struggling to get their foot on the ladder and secure their first job.
The guide is intended to offer employers help on giving young people - aged between 18 and 24 - their first positive and practical experience of work and is designed to support the Government's "Get Britain working" initiative.
It contains a checklist for employers running a placement and a "work experience agreement" that can be signed by the employer and the young person, helping to ensure commitment on both sides.
Katerina Rüdiger, CIPD skills policy adviser, said: "Employers can be reluctant to employ a young person with no work experience as they see them as a risk rather than as a productive employee, especially in difficult economic times. Managed properly, though, a work experience placement can benefit both the individual and the employer. This guide will be a great tool for employers wishing to run quality work experience programmes, which, in the long run, should go a long way in dispelling any negative perceptions.
"Work experience should sit alongside apprenticeships and internships as a valuable way to make young people more employable, and also to help organisations to access new talent through employees that are work-ready."