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Work experience and work placements

Published: March 2017

Report on the current provision of work experience and work-related activities at schools and colleges in England.

A report is available to download from the Department for Education's website.

A key output was that schools and colleges identified a range of approaches that were felt to support the delivery of effective work-related activities, illustrated below.

Good practice in the delivery of work-related activities


Activities offered

  • Schools and colleges offered a range of work-related activities, from careers events/ fairs to mock interviews and work experience placements.
  • The majority of schools and colleges, 63%, also made provision for students with Special Educational Needs and/ or Disabilities (SEND).

Organisation and set-up

  • Students’ career ambitions were the primarily consideration when matching students to work experience placements.
  • Most schools and colleges, 83%, used a centralised system for organising/ administering activities. Many also had a work experience coordinator/ coordinating team to help arrange work-related activities. However this was more common for schools than for colleges, where teaching staff had a bigger role in making arrangements.
  • The most important challenges were identified as lack of employers in certain industries/ areas, 20%; lack of staff time, 16%; and lack of employers offering certain roles, 14%.


  • Most schools and colleges undertook post-placement activities with students and employers; 86% of work experience coordinators said they assessed students’ performance, while 94% reported undertaking follow-up activities with employers.


  • Overall levels of satisfaction with work-related activities were high among schools, colleges, employers and students; most work experience coordinators, 87%, saw their institution’s offer as ‘very’ or ‘quite effective’.


  • Schools and colleges identified multiple benefits of work-related activities, with soft employability skills – ‘communication and interpersonal skills’, 97% and ‘increased confidence’, 95% – the most frequently mentioned.


A mixed method approach was used, combining a survey of work experience coordinators/ leads with school and college case studies.