Celebrating 25 years of work experience in Wandsworth

Published: 7 November 2018

School students and employers from around the borough have been marking 25 years of successful work experience placements in Wandsworth – which has seen around 25,000 young people getting their first taste of the world of work.

BEST (Business and Education Succeeding Together) is the council’s education and business partnership and works with about 700 employers to give Wandsworth’s young people access to around a thousand work experience placements a year. The awards celebrate the most motivated students and committed employers.

This year’s event was hosted by Ernest Bevin College and was attended by students from Ernest Bevin College, Graveney Academy, Burntwood Academy, Chestnut Grove Academy, and Nightingale Community Academy.

A large number of employers who have provided work experience were also at the ceremony. The Randall Close Day Centre and Hotel Rafayel in Battersea received a special award for their commitment to work experience and the hospitality project Pan Out.

Former Masterchef finalist Daksha Mistry led a team of talented young chefs from Ernest Bevin to produce a buffet for more than 120 guests, and music was provided by the Graveney School Saxophone Quintet.

Presentations focused on how much the world of work has changed since 1992 and how to prepare for the skills young people will need in the future.  Students from Burntwood and Ernest Bevin talked about their placements and a film showcased some of the young people and employers who took part in this year’s work experience programme.

This included students who talked about their work experience at the Polka Theatre, the local NHS, Waitrose, Digilab Tooting and accountancy firm The Tax Guys.  Local employer Joe Macari who offered placements at his performance car businesses, said: “When we get a youngster in with enthusiasm and they go forward, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Cllr Rory O’Broin, the council’s spokesman for employment and skills, presented the awards. He said: “Work experience is vital to give young people their first taste of the world of work. It boosts their confidence, enables them to make valuable contacts and prepares them for the skills and outlook they will need to succeed.

"We are grateful to the hard work of our students, and all the employers who gave their time and expertise.”

BEST is always keen to hear from local employers interested in offering work experience placements to young people. For more information visit the Wandsworth Lifelong Learning website.