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Placements make good compatibility tests


Forget compatibility tests on internet dating sites –work placements could ensure compatibility between employer and employee, according to City & Guilds.

One in five employees in the UK have left or are considering leaving a job because they want a change in career.

A new report from City & Guilds ‘Mutually Compatible – Effective Work Placements’ reveals that allowing future employees to try out a career could provide them with a valuable and realistic insight into a profession while employers can establish fit and suitability of potential staff without committing themselves.

Judith Norrington, head of national policy development at City & Guilds, believes that the potential of work placements has not yet been fully harnessed.

“UK businesses need to consider work placements as a serious tool in enhancing recruitment and realise the commercial advantages that they can offer their business,” she said.

Encouragingly, businesses are becoming more receptive towards work placements: 64 per cent of employers offer work placements, with 40 per cent seeing them as a good way of assessing potential staff, while 35 per cent consider them to be part of their training and recruitment policy.

Fulfilling corporate social responsibility obligations is another benefit with 70 per cent of businesses feeling they are putting something back into the community by offering placements.

Of those employers who do not offer work placements, 26 per cent cite health and safety considerations as a barrier, while 35 per cent of companies believe they do not have adequate facilities in place, and 31 per cent see work placements as simply too time consuming.

While work placements play a key role in career choices for students, they can also benefit adults who are looking to return to the workplace or change occupation.

Over a third (37 per cent) of returners said that a placement would help them make an informed decision while 65 per cent said that they had continued working in the sector where they had taken their work placement.

“Work placements provide an ideal opportunity for employers to attract experienced adults or career changers into their industry,” explained Norrington.

“As the number of young people entering the labour force diminishes by 60,000 each year, employers will need to tap into a broader range of workers of all ages and experience.

“Extending well-planned quality work placements or mentoring and shadowing programmes to career changers and returners should pay dividends for employers and employees, and attract a more diverse and experienced workforce to ensure that businesses remain competitive in the global market.”

Norrington added that compatibility and fit between employee and employer is growing in importance.

“As part of this, we’re seeing values playing an integral part in the decision making process for jobseekers, as they choose to work for organisations that mirror their own beliefs.”

Stephanie Morgan, chartered psychologist, commented: “While it is encouraging that over two thirds of employers do provide work placements, there is clearly room for improvement.

“Specific sectors and work areas would almost certainly benefit from offering work placements, as there is evidence this can enhance recruitment and reduce risk.”

Work placements are set to become a more permanent fixture in the UK, following the introduction this September, of mandatory work experience for school children. Yet, 76 per cent of employers surveyed were not aware of this.

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