Since the onset of the pandemic last year, undergraduates and graduates have had to face several challenges in line with the development of their prospective career. This trend cuts across most professions as businesses had to adjust their operations to accommodate the lockdown rules. For over a decade, a charity organisation founded by Robert Peston has been helping students who come from diverse settings to easily access the most favourable placements by implementing extensive work experience schemes.
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Known as Speakers for Schools, this non-profit corporation has been in the business of linking school leavers with ideal opportunities across the UK so they can advance in their careers. Students can utilise this chance to upgrade their skill set and get the necessary orientation for making a transition from school to work.
With the work experience they get, school leavers can get a more detailed and realistic view of their potential job roles. Since businesses stopped offering most traditional job placements due to the lockdown, students can hope for virtual work experience that provides relevant training as they move up their career path. Besides, young people can utilise such an innovative approach to improve their C.V and fill the gaps in their proficiency.
Undergraduates and graduates can benefit a lot from online work experience, like the luxury of partaking in companies’ operations from the comfort of their homes. Remote working allows people to adjust to a modern working lifestyle that abides by social distancing and other lockdown rules without giving up regular business operations.
Nowadays, most corporations in different sectors have introduced online work experience as a permanent feature of their operations. It seems only ideal for school leavers to gain knowledge about these industries through remote working, which is the norm for present-day workers. Although industries like construction and art typically have job placements that require in-person contribution, many UK companies are acclimating to this need by customising their virtual work experience programme.
More UK companies are Adopting Virtual Work Experience
Speakers for Schools conducted research where they found an increment of 5,890 in the number of UK job placements over the last year. Also, their research showed that 71% of these opportunities came as virtual work experience placements.
Since the lockdown did not inhibit most activities of companies in the construction industry, they offered the majority of these job opportunities. It’s no surprise since the construction sector is currently employing over 9% of the entire UK workforce. The health care sector is another industry that offered more placements since the pandemic increased their workload and every extra help gotten was appreciated by the industry. Graduates in the health care sector could also gain work experience by assisting doctors in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Marketing and retail were among the industries that saw dismissible changes with the adoption of virtual work experience. Over the last year, the marketing industry only offered 10 more placements, while retail offered 250 more with online work experience. The minimal reaction of these sectors to remote working is probably a result of their requirement of consistent teamwork, which may be strained when working remotely.
Several household companies also partook in the trend and offered several opportunities for remote work. Spotify, for example, had a 4,168% increase in the company’s hiring rate over the last year concerning virtual work experience opportunities in London. This has been highly beneficial to Northern Ireland school leavers who are normally limited from getting traditional placements at companies based in Britain.
Cisco and Severn Trent Water are other examples of household names that offered more remote employment opportunities for students and fresh graduates.
Advantages of Online Work Experience
For many young people, gaining school work experience in their fields can be challenging due to factors beyond their control, such as the location being disadvantaged from high-quality placements. It’s not just students that miss out on career opportunities with such concerns in place, but businesses miss out on top-notch talents too.
Instead of companies having to incur avoidable costs like transportation and accommodation to retain top prospects from far locations, virtual work experience programmes allow them to save cost since it allows people to work from their homes.
Global corporations can also benefit from this trend since it encourages their HR teams to customise their onboarding experience better. Students and companies can also use the opportunity of remote working to realistically review their compatibility at almost zero cost.
School leavers can use this placement with virtual work experience to gain insight into the professional realm of their careers. With such opportunities, they can better prepare themselves for further development in their respective fields by learning the workplace culture and improving their morale.