Leading CEO says more businesses should support the younger generation through work experience


The CEO of a leading law firm has called on more businesses to support the younger generation by offering work experience placements.

At this time of year, it isn’t uncommon for workplaces to be inundated with young people looking to gain experience over the summer and beyond. 

And, CEO of Ipswich based firm Prettys Ian Carr says businesses can do more in order to maximise the benefits of work experience and develop a new generation of workers.

This summer alone has seen Prettys take on eight work experience candidates with feedback describing placements as “engaging”, “enjoyable” and a “good variety of work.”

Ian outlined how it can present mutual benefits for both employers and young people.

“At Prettys we understand how important work experience can be in supporting the future of the workforce,” he said.

“Our work experience places are awarded to individuals who either have a strong interest in law or are considering a legal career in the future.

“However, we do limit the number of places we offer as we want to ensure the experience is a really valuable one which works for both parties.”

As well as giving invaluable experience in a law firm environment, Prettys say they have also seen a number of benefits in return.

“It has allowed us to scout out potential future employees, help us with staff resources during the holiday season and increase efficiency within day-to-day tasks.

“Introducing the scheme has boosted staff morale as they’ve had the opportunity to mentor others by investing in new people, we better our reputation as a go to employer for the best young talent out there.”

However, despite these benefits, many companies including other law firms are still reluctant to take on work experience placements sometimes due to confusion surrounding employer expectations.

Relieving this worry, Ian’s colleague and Prettys’ employment partner Matthew Cole said: “Work experience has become a vexed issue over the past few years, with the increase in unpaid internships and trial shifts.

“Typically, the traditional model of work experience, whereby a student spends time away from the blackboard seeing what life is like in an office, factory or warehouse, is not employment and does not need to be treated as such.”

“If utilised properly though there is no reason why work experience can’t work for everyone involved,” Ian concluded.

“After our work experience placements have been carried out we remain in regular contact with the candidate and may discuss an offer of employment as and when the candidate becomes available and there is a suitable vacancy.”