Case Study 1 - Post-16 Work Experience


What is the context?

At present, most work experience in secondary schools takes place when students are in Year 10, aged between 14 and 15 years old. Most schools do not currently make provision within curriculum time for work experience post-16. However, with the publication of the Wolf Report on Vocational Education in 2011, greater emphasis has been put on core academic study pre-16 and more ‘meaningful’ work experience. I feel that the most meaningful work experience I had was when I was 17 and my school arranged a two-week work experience in a leisure centre in France. Had my school not provided this opportunity, I would never have experienced French culture, never made strong links with a French family, and certainly never considered studying French at university level. I think this experience was fundamental to my decisions about where I would later live and what I would study.

What is the purpose of the learning activity?

The purposes of work experience in France post-16 are numerous. Work experience in a foreign country allows students to fully immerse themselves in the daily culture of that country in a way that a holiday cannot. It provides a clear structure and opportunity to learn, take risks and experience something entirely new. It is – for language students – their subject in its context. For many students, it will be the first time they will have experienced this real context. Finally, it can instil confidence and provide motivation for language-learning outside of the classroom.

Why do you need support? How would the grant enable you to do something you would otherwise not do?

Many students of French at A Level will not have either the financial support to organise a work experience in France or the benefits of an existing work experience programme at post-16. These students might well benefit from a grant that would enable them to, for example, pay for travel costs and accommodation with a family in France, or to a French company within the UK. The grant might provide them with the impetus to pursue a work experience as a booster for their studies.