Heinz and Marks & Spencer among employers to get award for work experience programmes

Household brand names are among the latest employers awarded a quality seal of approval for providing the best work experience programmes.

Food manufacturer Heinz, retailer Marks & Spencer and financial services group Citi have each received a Quality Mark from the National Council for Work Experience (NCWE), which aims to encourage and support the development of quality standards across all forms of free working.

The mark is intended to raise the game in work experience placements offered and also gives employers the opportunity to share outstanding practice across a range of industry sectors.

Recruitment procedures, induction practice and evaluation and monitoring are all tested in a quest to find best practice.

Linda Graham, graduate and business placement programme manager at Marks & Spencer said: “It was good to have an independent party verify our opinion of ourselves and the feedback we received was great. We were given tips about improvements we could make and ways to benchmark ourselves against our competitors.”

The Quality Mark, which costs £3,500 and includes one assessor day, adviser meetings and sessions, assessment and accreditation, will remain valid for three years with an annual review by the NCWE.

Heather Collier, manager of the NCWE, called for more employers to offer high-calibre work experience schemes.

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