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17th May 2017

For young people entering the jobs market, relevant work experience is increasingly seen as a vital prerequisite to employment. York College has taken an enthusiastic approach to implementing the government’s new work experience initiatives to develop and extend students’ growing repertoire of employability skills in preparation for future employment.

Calum Abernethy WEB1

Students have access to a dedicated and newly-formed Work Placement Team who are busy generating placement opportunities across Yorkshire. These placements are then matched to York College students to ensure that they gain experiences which benefit them in their chosen career paths and allow them to thrive as they enter the world of work. The team works with both Vocational and A Level students from across the College with a particular focus on those who are moving into apprenticeships or employment after the academic year concludes. Students this year have had a fantastic taste of the wider world of work and many have been able to gain paid employment or apprenticeships in their chosen industries as a result.

Of particular note is Level 3 Graphic Design student, Calum Abernethy (previously of Millthorpe School), who has been offered full-time employment as a Junior Graphic Designer following the successful completion of his work placement with Hunters Estate Agents in York. Calum said of the work placement: “I undertook a work placement as I wanted to gain experience in the working world as a Graphic Designer. The placement at Hunters was really helpful as I was able to use my skills to help solve problems, learn how to use design programs and develop my knowledge of computer-based programs. Working in an office environment boosted my self-confidence and improved my time management skills when working under pressure to meet deadlines.”

Work Placement Team WEB

For employers, the benefits are numerous as recruitment opportunities can be gained by taking on a placement student and temporary labour gaps within organisations can be filled. Justyna Hill, HR Manager at Hunters, spoke of the benefits of offering a work placement: “Offering a work placement was a great way of establishing a working relationship with a local college. It was a great experience for our staff, who had the chance to do some mentoring and training, as well as helping us to understand the type and amount of support we require within our business.”

York College students have undertaken numerous work placements this year including seven Media Make-up students who worked on a film shoot, two Beauty Therapy students who worked in a prestigious spa and various placements in local restaurants, hotels and shops. Some placements proved particularly successful with Level 3 Skills for Business student, Luke Burnett (previously of All Saints RC School), taking on an apprenticeship opportunity after a successful work placement with Seat Surgeons in Strensall.

Work Placement Team Leader, Beth Thorp, says of the team: “We’ve had a fantastic year and look forward to strengthening and developing ties with Yorkshire employers over the summer so that we can provide the very best opportunities to both students and organisations. If any local employers think they can offer a work placement, we would love to hear from you so we can offer a student the opportunity to develop as a result of work experience. Please contact the Work Placement Team on 01904 770830 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.”

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Work Placements

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