Hybrid schemes boost return of work experience

The Institute of Student Employers reports a sharp rise in work experience placements, with hybrid opportunities accounting for a third of them

The proportion of employers offering work experience opportunities has risen for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19, thanks in no small part to the growth of hybrid schemes.

A report published today (13 July) by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) finds that 71% of employers have openings for young people to take up work experience, compared to 60% last year.

Hybrid schemes now constitute exactly a third of work experience opportunities offered by ISE members, with 4% wholly online.

Schemes are highly varied in form, ranging from a day’s work shadowing and part-time employment to formal internship programmes and one-year work placements.

“After a scarce few years, we’re seeing a return for work experience this summer,” said ISE chief executive, Stephen Isherwood. “This is good news for students and employers, as the lack of opportunities has made it tough for young people to develop the skills they need to start work; it’s also dampened their confidence.”

“People who get work experience are more likely to do well in the jobs market as they leave education.”

In other news: National Student Survey suggests big rise in satisfaction with IT resources

The shorter schemes are more likely to be the ones offered in hybrid form, he added, before warning that participants should act in the same way as if they were attending in person.

“All of the usual rules still apply – no matter how remote students may feel, there is a job to do, they are at work and there are expectations. Look smart, be punctual, turn the camera on and look engaged. It’s important to behave in the same professional way as you would if you were in person.”

ISE is also encouraging remote and hybrid learners to speak up when they require support.

“Because Gen Zs are digital natives, they are confident with the technological side of working virtually,” says their guidance. “However, they struggle with soft skills that are typically developed in person… such as asking for more work, accessing development opportunities and being visible to their manager. A way to combat this is to speak up and be honest with your manager about things that you are struggling with, or that could be improved.

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