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Leading employers explain why they welcome students on work experience

Many Cambridge area schools give students one or two weeks off timetable in the summer term so that they can get a taste of the workplace. The experience can be invaluable for students, giving them insight into the working world and different careers as well as an opportunity to take on new responsibilities. But businesses derive benefits as well. Two leading businesses explain why they look forward to welcoming teenagers into their businesses:

Heidi Mulvey, Head of Community Engagement at Cambridge University Press explains: “Offering work experience is rewarding on so many levels and not as difficult as it might seem. At Cambridge University Press, we need to understand how young people think and how they learn - work experience students who join our teams do some excellent work and give us fresh (and honest!) insights. It’s a useful exercise for us to explain what we do, and demystifies the world of work for students whilst giving them an opportunity to work alongside colleagues on real projects. This is hugely motivating for our colleagues, particularly as they can see how much this helps young people grow in confidence. Whatever insight you can give a young person into your business and however much time you can offer, it is worth it, for your business as well as for them.”

Angela Rushforth, Managing Director, Ridgeons Ltd and Chair of the CBI Eastern Regional Council, explains why her company takes a proactive approach to developing young people: “It is important that we get across to young people the opportunities available in a builders merchant - work experience often changes their whole perception of our industry and business. It also provides a development opportunity for our people, to learn to manage and engage with young people. As businesses we shouldn't sit back and complain when the school 'system' does not provide the workforce we want and need - it is up to us to engage with schools, inspire young people and give them a practical understanding of the employability skills all businesses are seeking.”

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