Work placements can provide a vital opportunity for future employees to test out whether working in certain a profession is suitable for them, a new report has stressed.
In addition to playing a "key role" in helping school pupils to determine their career choices, vocational experience can also help employers to attract older staff who are looking to change jobs or return to the work place, according to the vocational qualifications body, City and Guilds.
But despite the commercial and social benefits of vocational experience, a study published by the organisation, entitled, Mutually Compatible – Effective Work Placements, finds that around 36 per cent of employers are still neglecting to offer work placements to potential staff.
In addition, 76 per cent of employers surveyed for the report said they were unaware of new rules coming into force in September which will make work placements mandatory for school pupils.
Judith Norrington, head of national policy development at City and Guilds, said: "UK businesses need to consider work placements as a serious tool in enhancing recruitment and realise the commercial advantages that they can offer their business."
She said that the need for employers to attract adult staff seeking either a change in career direction, or to re-enter the labour force, by offering work placements, was of increasing importance given that the number of young people entering the UK job market is shrinking by around 60,000 each year.
Last week the Department for Education and Skills announced the launch of the first new industry-led National Skills Academies, which will provide tailored vocational education and training for both school leavers and adults.
Commenting on the approval of the first three academies for the manufacturing, construction and financial services sectors, prime minister Tony Blair said: "The new National Skills Academies are an exciting partnership between government and industry to ensure we have the well-trained staff needed for the future."