Do you remember your first work experience? Perhaps it was babysitting for a family with far too many children, office experience mostly photocopying and making tea, or pulling drinks you’d never heard of behind a bar… and we wonder why young people are lacking the skills needed to take off in the world of work.
Lansons’ believes in providing fair work experience opportunities to young people from a range of backgrounds to help them develop core employability skills. It also helps us source talent from the broadest spectrum possible. The 2016 report by CMI and EY foundation, Age of uncertainty, young people’s views on the challenges of getting into work in 21st century Britain, revealed that 56% of young people find it challenging to gain experience relevant to their choice of career, and 32% are concerned they won’t find a job in the near future. We want to help change this and our scheme forms part of our core business strategy of supporting meritocracy, diversity and inclusion.
This summer we were proud to host 18 work experience students as part of our annual programme. Many students have never worked in an office before so we invite them in for an informal chat as a first step to get to know them a little and pair them with the right buddy. People from disadvantaged backgrounds particularly find it hard to get their foot in the door so we genuinely believe in improving social mobility though our links with charity Making the Leap, and a new partnership this year with Social Mobility Foundation. 44% of students this summer came from this wider community, with a focus on disadvantaged backgrounds. We aim to reach 50%.
We also supported Barking and Dagenham Council’s Insight into Management Programme for a second year and hosted a group of school students for a week whilst they worked on a management task. The students interacted with people throughout the agency and the week culminated with them presenting their final work. This autumn we also hosted around 30 students from the Women of the Future Ambassadors Scheme which helps connect successful women with sixth form students to provide them with mentors and role models.
Our scheme wouldn’t work without the genuine passion our people feel for their career. Our junior consultants buddy up with the students to guide them through varied tasks from writing press releases to attending client brainstorms and team meetings. They genuinely integrate students into Lansons’ work practices and culture to develop both their technical and soft skills.
We all know that the responsibility of developing young peoples’ skills lies not only with employers, but with the education system and governments in a cycle that is inextricably linked. However, as modern-day employers we have a responsibility to pro-actively encourage opportunities for all and support future generations make the jump from school to work.
Do we really have a choice? Not if you’d like a competent, diverse and skilled workforce…
“It has certainly encouraged me to think about PR as a future career and made me feel like it was something that, with the right training, I could certainly do and potentially be good at.” –Work experience student
“My experience at Lansons made me really excited about embarking on a career in communications.” –Work experience student
“The programme was great, I was able to work on different things each day, and I was able to gain a lot of insight into the industry!” –Work experience student
“I learned a huge amount.” –Work experience student
This article is part of our Autumn 2017 newsletter.