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Top off GCSE results with mandatory work experience, says ICAEW

Thursday 21 August

As students collect their exam results today, and government announce they are launching new apprenticeships, ICAEW is calling for work experience to be put back into the curriculum. It’s not a ‘nice-to-do’ activity. Young people should have more than results to show for their learning. 

ICAEW Director of Global Student Recruitment, Sharon Spice, said: 

“The government was wrong to remove work experience from the curriculum in 2011. Experiencing the work environment isn’t a ‘nice-to-do’ activity, it’s a necessity for young people. Work experience is the basic first exposure to work and directly connects academic learning with the workplace. It can also help schools build links with local businesses, to create networks where young people can develop their skills, awareness and work readiness. It can also be a great opportunity to inspire young people and motivate them to work hard while in education. 

“It’s vital that young people, and those supporting them, ask whether their next step will ensure they develop the right skills that employers need. The UK is turning a corner in the availability of apprenticeships and other non-university routes into professional careers. More resources are needed to communicate the benefits of all career options to young people, so they have as much access and opportunity as early as possible.” 

She added: “We think the GCSE stage is a good time to get young people thinking about what they can expect to achieve in a career. We meet schools across the country who take part in our national business skills competition (BASE), which attracts up to 3,000 students aged 16- 19. It brings together schools, FE colleges, employers and ICAEW Chartered Accountants to develop young people’s employability skills and awareness of the world of work. We meet talented young people with so much untapped potential, that it’s vital we inspire them now – not later.” 

Notes to editors 

ICAEW is a partner in the Access Accountancy initiative which aims to create 3,750 high-quality practical work experience placements by September 2019. It is a collaboration of employers and professional bodies, dedicated to improving access to the accountancy profession.