Looking to recruit top-quality graduates? Employers should invest more inorganising work placements. That way, they will reap huge benefits fromenthusiastic students queuing up for work experienceI frequently hear employers bemoaning graduates’ lack of understanding ofthe workplace and of the key employability skills they consider essential innew recruits. But how can graduates acquire these competencies if employersconsistently fail to provide quality work-placement opportunities? It’s a classic chicken and egg situation that businesses must address ifthey are to secure the quality staff they desire. Indeed, I would say employers are missing a trick by overlooking thebenefits a work-placement student can bring to their companies, and the savingsthey can make on recruitment expenses if they select wisely and view eachstudent placement as an extended interview. The recent National Graduate Media Audit surveyed more than 100 graduaterecruiters, asking them what they believed to be the most effective route torecruiting top-quality graduates. The recruiters cited all manner of media,ranging from directories and magazines to careers fairs, websites and employerpresentations. Yet what do you suppose topped the list as the number one mosteffective method? You guessed, work experience/internships. In addition to the potential savings on recruitment costs, work-placementstudents can bring other benefits. How many companies have ideas on the backburner that fail to reach development stage because of lack of time ormanpower? A student on placement can provide the perfect resource to tacklesuch projects, or even free up a permanent member of staff to progress them. Developing IT systems, creating websites and undertaking market research arejust some projects students can undertake. They can also provide access touniversity resources and bring knowledge of new technologies, which mightotherwise pass the company by. Work experience students can also bring a fresh pair of eyes to spot newopportunities and could suggest effective new working practices which permanentpersonnel may never see, through being so close to the business. The National Council for Work Experience, through its Work ExperienceAwards, has hard evidence of work-placement students who have turned companiesaround with their innovative thinking. Yet it is clear successful work experienceis a two-way process; if employers provide a good brief and adequate support,they will reap the benefits of having an intelligent and enthusiastic employee.It is time recruiters stopped complaining that their graduate starters arenot ‘oven-ready’, and started investing in initiatives that provide them withopportunities to become so. Recruiters say work experience works. Now, as wemove towards the summer term and students begin to look for summer holidayplacements, it is time to put their money where their mouth is and come forwardin much larger numbers to provide quality work-placements. By Liz Rhodes, Director, National Council for Work Experience Comments are closed. Help graduates to become ‘oven-ready’ for life at workOn 6 May 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.