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It is vital that students have first-hand contact with employers to help their understanding of the skills needed for their futures.

Research shows that a young person who has four or more meaningful encounters with an employer is 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training and can earn up to 22% more during their career.

To meet the ambition set out in the government’s Careers Strategy, employers need to offer at least four million employer encounters and at least one million workplace encounters every year. At the moment some young people get more than the minimum level described in the Careers Strategy, while others get a lot less. This means that at best only 37% of young people are currently benefitting from the full minimum standard for employer encounters.

Research suggests that quality work experience happens when students are active participants in the process of choosing workplace experiences that will fulfil their needs and interests, often with the help of their families. After the experience, students need to reflect on their work experience and share with adults the things that they learnt along the way.

How can we make sure more young people are getting more quality work experiences during their secondary education? And, how can we ensure that the views of young people are heard, considered and acted upon in the work experience process?

Research the topic:

Why is it that young people aren’t often included in conversations about work experience?

Note down all the reasons you can think of.

  • How do schools/young people find organisations for work placements?
  • How can we design alternative models of work experience that ensure time is well structured and it’s a meaningful experience?
  • How can we find new ways of connecting young people to different employers/work places/job roles?

What other examples can you find?

Try to find some answers to the above questions by speaking to people that help place young people in their work placements, local employers, or maybe with careers advisors from the National Careers Service. Find out their thoughts and discuss them with your group.

Design the solution

Design a product, campaign or service that you think will help address the challenge you have identified.

Examples could include:

A product: would a student-led work experience toolkit for employers be effective?

A campaign: would a ‘quality work experience’ charter written by students and businesses be something that local businesses and schools would sign-up to?

A service: would employers sign up to a digital badging service that uses awards to recognise and record the skills young people develop during their time in the workplace?


The Careers and Enterprise Company worked with an organisation called the Gatsby Foundation to create guidance on what makes for the best careers advice – they are called the Gatsby Benchmarks – they have produced some case studies for how schools have been trying to achieve the benchmarks.

Want more information?

Want more information?

This project pack includes a detailed description of each brief and other usefult tips to get started.

Download project pack


Here are some resources to help you learn more about design.