Read this text about improving young people’s chances of getting good jobs and then read the statements following it. Decide whether the following statements are true, false or we do not know because the text does not say. Write A if the statement is true, write B if the statement is false, and write C if the text does not say.
Work experience alongside the more familiar parental anxieties – such as placing children in good schools and universities – there is now a new cause for concern. Finding the right work experience, say teachers and employment experts, has become a key step to future career success. The number of graduates with good grades is rocketing and employers, unable to distinguish between candidates on academic grounds, are looking for something extra on the CV. Thus, with more and more people getting into higher education, the importance of work experience is set to rise further. Those who can develop early the office skills that employers like – such as teamwork and personal communication – will prosper at the expense of the rest. Why employers now look beyond academic qualifications is illustrated by the experience of Allen & Overy, a City law practice. It is so inundated with applications that a spokesman said: “Due to the excessive numbers of applications we receive, we only consider people with very good degrees. Beyond that we look to see if applicants have interesting work experience. It is something that can set candidates apart.” The irony is that – despite the government’s drive for equality in education – it is still who you know that counts. “You’ve really got to use your grapevine, people you know who are in interesting jobs, people you’ve studied with – do they have any friends or parents in jobs that you’d like to do?” Dr Peter Hawkins, a graduate employment expert at Liverpool University said. The problem is partly that there are not enough openings to go round. The expansion of higher education has not led to an increase in the demand for ‘knowledge workers’. Up to 40% of graduates are in non-graduate work. Even work experience opportunities that sound exciting can prove to be deeply disappointing. There is, of course, a fine line between work experience and ‘slave labour’. One 23-year-old graduate, who wished to remain anonymous, said last week that a three month stint with a television production company had put him off a broadcasting career. “It taught me that in television there is an attitude that work experience people are free labour,” he said. “We were expected to do the dirty work for nothing." However, even that sort of experience can be valuable. Dr Martin Stephen, headmaster of St Paul’s boys’ school, suggested that working in a supermarket should not be sniffed at. “The work experience that I would personally support would be stacking shelves – I think it’s a wonderful experience,” he said. “It’s the real world. And I think it’s not a bad thing to make a child live off what they earn for five or six weeks. That’s real learning.”
It is common for parents to worry about their children’s education.