Work experience – it’s a phrase that often evokes images of reluctant students donning ill-fitting suits and slogging through mundane tasks. But let’s dispel that misconception right away. Work experience is not just an essential part of careers education, it’s an opportunity to invest in our local community, a chance to cultivate a thriving workforce and nurture the talents of the future. Whilst work experience is an expectation for schools, if we shift our perspective, it’s much more than just a necessary box to check on the academic journey of young individuals…

Here at Elevate Education Business Partnership, we have witnessed the transformative power of work experience first-hand – and not just as a facilitator of it… We’ve provided numerous placements here in our very own office: watching students overcome anxieties, develop new skills, gain confidence, and find their true passions across our different programmes and departments. Witnessing a young person’s personal growth and seeing them blossom is a privilege, especially when we know how far beyond the individual this impact goes.

In fact, Elevate EBP’s work experience programme has an average social return on investment (SROI) of £30,479 per individual placement! SROI is a method of quantifying the social and economic value we are creating, and by collating this into a monetary figure we’re able to better understand that for every placement provided, there is a significant social benefit generated for the Liverpool City Region. It’s not just a figure, but a testament to the immense value and long-term impact of the placements provided by our local professionals, businesses, and organisations.

But it’s not just about numbers; it’s about the stories of success and possibilities of future growth that emerge from these experiences. Every student who walks through the door on their first day of placement has the potential to become a future leader, innovator, or game-changer and attending a placement is the very beginning of that journey. For our young people, work experience is a gateway to a world beyond textbooks and classrooms. It equips them with the practical skills needed to boost their confidence and foster a sense of direction. Work experience is an invaluable stepping stone towards a life after education.

The benefits extend far beyond the students themselves. Our local businesses play a vital role in making work experience work. By opening up their doors to students, business owners are able to gain fresh perspective, tap into young talent, and infuse their organisations with energy and innovation. Engaging with young people through work experience helps shape our future workforce. Professionals become mentors, guiding, and nurturing the next generation of talent. They are contributing to the growth and development of our local economy and ensuring we have a vibrant job market in the years to come.

Of course, we recognise that not every placement is without its challenges and there are instances where students or placement providers might face difficulties or encounter less-than-ideal circumstances. But it’s important to remember that these instances are the exception rather than the norm and challenges can also provide us with constructive learning experiences. Young people are all different, and some require more nurture and encouragement at the beginning of their journey than others. Our amazing businesses continue to show that the majority of placements have an overall positive impact for all parties involved, and that the benefits of offering work experience far outweigh any challenges along the way.

If we zoom out and consider the Liverpool City Region as a whole, work experience has a profound impact on our communities. As young people gain practical skills and industry-specific knowledge, they become more employable, strengthening our local workforce. This, in turn, attracts businesses and investments, drives innovation, and contributes to the overall growth of our region. The talents nurtured through work experience can become the driving force behind new ventures, startups, and initiatives that will put the LCR on the map.

It’s important that as educators and professionals, we’re joining forces to make work experience work in our Liverpool City Region – and Elevate EBP are at the forefront of this. We continue to successfully prioritise and champion work experience opportunities with our local businesses and organisations. Together, we are creating amazing relationships that benefit not only young people and business owners, but our region as a whole.

Work experience is more than just an expectation; it’s an investment in the success of our young people, the growth of our businesses, and the prosperity of our Liverpool City Region. Let’s continue to embrace its potential, celebrate its impact, and together, make work experience work – because it’s more than just a tick in a box.

For more information about our Work Experience Programme, please contact us!