Evidence for the report - entitled ‘Realising the potential of work experience’ - was gathered in 2018 from a range of expert witnesses, including leaders from the worlds of business, politics and the charity sector.
The Youth Select Committee heard evidence inside a Committee Room in Parliament, normally reserved only for MPs, and sent its findings to the Government for an official response.
What did the Youth Select Committee inquiry uncover?
Following the inquiry, the Committee concluded that access to good quality work experience was patchy, and stark inequalities associated with socio-economic background and location entrenched the divide in the quality of work experience available, causing long-lasting consequences for young people.
It stressed that the Government needed to take action in a number of areas, including working with schools, businesses and young people to develop a quality benchmarking scheme for businesses offering work experience.
The Government response to the inquiry
In its response, the Government acknowledged its role in preparing students for adult life, and noted how vital work experience was to young adults. Despite this, the Government made no concrete commitments to address the concerns raised by the Committee.
As part of the response, which answers each individual recommendation made by the committee, the Government state every pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace. However, the Government did not make a firm commitment to commission further research on the quality work experience, stating only that they would look carefully at how they can improve their evidence base.
The Committee's view on the Government response
The Committee welcomes the Government’s plan to undertake further work to understand whether there is value in dedicating a section of the National Careers Service website to work experience. They were also pleased to hear the Government intend to involve young people in the design and testing of any new resources and services.
Claudia Quinn, Chair of the Youth Select Committee, said: “The Youth Select Committee were disappointed to learn that the Government have acknowledged its role in preparing students for adult life and the importance of work experience but make no concrete commitments to address the concerns highlighted by the committee.
“The Government need to take steps to address the patchy, unequal nature of young people’s access to work experience and this response doesn’t take into account the very real concerns highlighted by the committee.We were, however, pleased with the Government’s commitment to involve young people in the design and testing of any National Careers Services new resources and services. Young people should be consulted on things that impact them and we’re excited to hear the Government have acknowledged this.”
Futher information on the Youth Select Committee
The Youth Select Committee, a joint initiative between Parliament and the British Youth Council, gives young people from across the country the opportunity to scrutinise and hold inquiries into topics of importance to them. The eleven committee members are aged 11-18 and include Members of the UK Youth Parliament, Youth Councillors, a Young Mayor and representatives from each of the devolved nations.
The Government response follows the Committee's launch of the report at a special event in the House of Commons in November last year.
You can find out more about the membership of the 2018 Youth Select Committee on the British Youth Council website.
It has just been announced that this year’s Committee will investigate the UK’s knife crime epidemic.
Download a full copy of the Youth Select Committee report 'Realising the potential of work experience' ( PDF 0.98 MB)
Download a full copy of the Government's response to the inquiry