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World Youth Skills Day 2021

Thursday, 15 July, 2021

Student Achievement Work Placement


World Youth Skills Day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014 to focus attention on technical and vocational skill development in the youth, and specifically their ability to access affordable, quality technical and vocational education and training.

This year, World Youth Skills Day 2021 pays tribute to the resilience and creativity of youth and the technical and vocational providers who have adapted their learning delivery models in the pandemic.

Wakefield College wants to celebrate the resilience of our students, staff and employer partners who have responded to the COVID-19 emergency by embracing virtual work placements to support learning continuity, skill development and valuable industry experience in the past 18 months.

It all began with a pilot programme delivered by ENGIE early in the first lockdown. As a responsible business, ENGIE, are committed to supporting young people by offering a range of work experience placements to develop knowledge and employability skills. With virtual delivery quickly becoming the new ‘norm’, a creative and innovative means of delivery had to be identified to continue to support local young people into work experience placements.    

ENGIE, worked closely with a catering delivery partner in Wakefield, ISS, to put together a robust programme for students studying hospitality and catering. Although unable to offer students a ‘hands-on experience, the programme aimed to give students knowledge of a catering provision within an educational setting.

Across the week students were exposed to a range of sessions, experiences and independent working to prepare them for the world of work. At the end of the programme, students were asked to rate ENGIE on the skills they had helped them to develop during their placement. Validation of the success of the programme as evidenced by 100% of participants stating that they would recommend the ENGIE Virtual Work Experience to their peers!

Following on from this first virtual work placement, Stada Media, a Wakefield-based corporate video production company, took to the virtual floor with a work placement week for Wakefield College’s Level 3 Media students.

The Stada Media Virtual Work Placement involved an employer engagement session with an overview of the company and job roles, a virtual tour of the company premises, a virtual team meeting with the full Stada Media team and an employability video project for the students to complete.

The employability video project saw students creating 90-second videos that could be used to promote themselves to potential employers, using the skills and knowledge that had been gained from their placement with Stada Media.

Helen Law, Work Placement Officer at Wakefield College said “We have responded quickly to develop virtual work placements. Stada Media has been amazing and really given our media students a worthwhile experience. We can’t thank them enough! The students have given us really positive feedback throughout the whole week and I think it has been highly beneficial for them to still be able to have the work placement experience, in an industry that has quickly embraced working and collaborating in a virtual world.”

With word starting to spread, more and more employers adapted and offered some fantastic opportunities to engage with the students.

Patrick Parsons, a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, are committed to working with schools and colleges across the country and have conducted a number of virtual careers activities with students at Wakefield College in the past year. One of which was with their IT Manager, Stephen Pearson, who worked with first-year computing students. The project provided the students with the opportunity to think about how their studies can be used in real workplace situations, as well as giving them the chance to develop their softer skills, such as teamwork and presenting.

When asked about his involvement with Wakefield College, Stephen said, “It’s been a pleasure to work with the students at Wakefield College and giving them an insight into the workings of an IT Department. They should all be proud of the work they did on their projects and I hope it has helped them develop their thoughts on which aspect of IT they would like to focus on.”

The Work Placement Team then went virtual once again by teaming up with Wakefield-based engineering firm Sewtec Automation to offer college students an insight into the engineering industry. 

Level 3 Engineering student Jack Ainsley said: “I learned a lot about the actual company and a lot about automation in engineering. I also learned a bit about how to improve my CV and cover letter. I also learned what employers are looking for in an employer aiding in my finding an apprenticeship. I enjoyed learning about what the company did most and learning about automation as it is what I am interested in.”

Tony Jackson, Wakefield College, Work Placement Coordinator, said: “Work placements are an integral part of the student experience at Wakefield College and they help prepare students for the future. The pandemic has had an impact on our work, but we are grateful for the continued support from the likes of Sewtec Automation who adapted their approach and were still able to help our students.”


CONTACT: For more information email, or telephone 01924 789789.
DATE: 15 July, 2021

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