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Swindon and Wiltshire named as work experience blackspot

Swindon and Wiltshire has been singled out as one of the most difficult counties in the country in which young people can gain valuable work experience.

The report, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, claims one in five employers say that nothing could persuade them to offer work experience, despite the fact that 66 percent of businesses say experience is critical when recruiting new staff.

Exposing what it calls a ‘postcode lottery’ of work experience, the report – Catch 16-24: Youth Employment Challenge – says that only 28 to 30 percent of employers had offered work experience placements in the last year.

In neighbouring Gloucestershire, the figure was around 41 to 46 percent – in the highest bracket – while Bristol and Bath, Berkshire and Dorset also fared well, with an average of 37 to 40 percent of employers offering work experience.

The report comes as government figures show that around 40 percent of the UK’s 1.9 million unemployed people are aged under 25, and that in contrast to other age groups, unemployment for the youngest workers is remaining stubbornly high.

Dame Fiona Kendrick, chief executive of Nestle UK and Ireland, and a commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills said: “The areas where employers are least likely to offer any form of experience of the workplace are also where youth unemployment is high, creating a catch 22 situation for young people – they can’t get the experience to get a job and they can’t get a job without the experience.

“Small actions can make a world of difference to young people, and experience need not be two weeks of photocopying in the summer – mock interviews, talks in schools, site visits and mentoring can make the difference for a young person’s CV without taking too much time.”