A work experience programme for young full-time undergraduate students from less advantaged backgrounds has recruited its 1,000th student, less than three years after its launch.
GO Wales: Achieve through Work Experience is a university-led programme offering tailored support to eligible students under 25 to get the best out of their work experience and plan their next steps. The programme offers flexibility, from three days’ unpaid work shadowing to a six week paid work placement.
The Open University in Wales is one of the participating univeristies in the GO Wales programme. You can find out about our involvement here.
What a great milestone for the GO Wales programme! In three years, we've seen it go from strength-to-strength, giving students the confidence and skills they need to enter employment. I've seen first-hand the advantage it's offered some of our learners, but also the help it's given many employers across Wales. Here's to the next 1000!Darren Jones, OU in Wales Partnerships Manager
The all-Wales programme, funded by the European Social Fund, HEFCW and higher education providers, helps students to develop and refine their employability skills so that they are in the best situation to secure employment, training or education when they leave their course.
Aberystwyth University undergraduate student Daniel, who is on the autism spectrum, said: “Taking part in the GO Wales: Achieve through Work Experience programme has made me realise what I can do and given me something to look forward to. The experience really helped me to identify my goals and develop new skills. You can discover hidden qualities that you didn’t know you possessed. I improved my communication skills, especially speaking to people one-to-one.”
David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: “It’s no mean feat that the programme has already impacted on a thousand lives, and so many of them have already seen the benefit of the opportunities GO Wales has given them. This is not just a work experience programme. Feedback has shown that this impacts on so many aspects of the students’ lives, giving them confidence and building their skills, as well as placing them in a work setting. We know that universities are continually refining how they engage with harder to-reach students, and we hope that they will continue to embrace the benefits of this programme to continue to make a positive difference to as many students’ lives as possible over the coming years.”
The ethos of the programme is to help those facing barriers to gaining work experience by providing a tailored and flexible work experience with employers, as well as offering some financial support including travel expenses, reasonable adjustments in the workplace and care/childcare costs.
The programme recruits black and minority ethnic students; disabled students and those with a work-limiting health condition; students with caring responsibilities or care leavers; and students from areas with a low higher education participation rate. Over 400 employers from all sectors across Wales have hosted work experience to date.
Last year, OU student Rachel Nolan spoke to us about her placement at Glan Clwyd Hospital. Here's her story:
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