Students not just a source of cheap labour

Employers that provide work placements for young people in full-time education see a wide range of benefits and believe it also provides an opportunity to “give something back” to society, according to a study by Personnel Today’s sister publication, IRS Employment Review.

The scale of work experience programmes is huge – more than 95% of young people now get two weeks’ formal work experience before they leave school. Three-quarters of employers that take on new graduates also offer placements to undergraduates.

But the IRS research reveals that relatively few see the army of teenagers and eager students that troop through their doors each summer as a source of cheap labour.

Most commonly, employers see work placements as a chance to establish links with possible future employees (78%), but they also hope to make a contribution to society (75%) and garner some positive PR for themselves at the same time (71%).

Less frequently, employers hope to provide staff with opportunities to hone their management skills (41%) or to absorb new ideas from work placement students (37%). Just one in 10 employers sees students as a cheap or free way of getting work done.

Employers also usually prefer to offer placements to students who have connections with the organisation, either through a family member or as a result of continuing links between the company and their school or university.


yardstick 22-08-06

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