A youth forum in Cardiff is working to ensure more work experience opportunities are made available to young people in Wales.
Last year it was reported work experience would no longer be compulsory in hundreds of schools over health and safety concerns.
Tamara Pereira, 16, has led the group in their campaign to encourage organisations, businesses and schools to reconsider term-time work experience for students.
‘Work experience offers young people various opportunities and benefits, these include learning skills such as team building and good time keeping,’ explained Tamara, from Cardiff. ‘The government’s changes have had a negative impact on young people and their life decisions – they don’t know what they want to be and they haven’t had the opportunity to experience working in the world.’
The young people believe work experience gives them the chance to trial different professions to help shape their important future decisions.
Tamara added: ‘I’ve done some work experience in a law firm because that’s the field I am particularly interested in and its really changed my perspective and made me realise it’s something I want to pursue when I’m older.
‘It has also taught me valuable skills that I will be able to use when I eventually enter into that profession.
‘However, I got my placement through my own persistence, I kept going back to the same office every week and giving them my CV – you need to be a proactive, persistent individual.’
The group say businesses are very cautious to take young people on with concerns they won’t take a placement seriously.
‘Young people can often feel work experience is of no use and do not want to bother with it because they assume they’ll just be stacking shelves which has happened in the past.
‘Instead, they would have the opportunity to develop their self-awareness and confidence and it could also help young people understand the links between their school subjects and the world of work,’ Tamara added.
Tamara and her team have made a film showing the positive impact and importance of having real-life experience.
‘My advice to anyone would be to put yourself out there, knock on doors, be persistent and keep trying.
‘Work experience on a CV makes a young person look more skilled, definitely much more determined, and hardworking,’
To find other resources on this topic, and watch more Fixers films, click on the image below.