Speakers for Schools
Virtual Work Experience (VWEX)

Speakers for Schools Student

Young people

Try the job in real life

Speakers for Schools is proud to announce the launch of the Speakers for Schools Virtual Work Experience (VWEX) programme. To address the need for high quality work experience, in communities which often have a disconnect between the aspirations of young people, and the presence of outstanding employers.

VWEX’ing will expand our current on-site work experience programme to level the playing field for all.  Our VWEX programme is the first of its kind in the UK and enables employers to solve key problems in their business while delivering meaningful and structured work experience to more young people wherever they reside. Read about our VWEX in the media.

We invite employers, educators, careers leaders and young people to register their interest.

Why Try Virtual Work Experience?

Access

ACCESS

VWEX’ing opens the doors of opportunity to young people right across the country and allows employers to grow their talent pipeline and make a difference to those who really need it.

Impact

IMPACT

VWEX’ing allows for greater impact, as “seats” are not required, opening up the chance for more young people to access great opportunities wherever they are.

FREE

As a charity, we are focused on ensuring educators and young people have great experiences and free access to our services to ensure a level playing field and meaningful outcomes.

Customer Services

SUPPORTED

We recognise that you will have many questions. This is why we will work closely with you to ensure you’re supported every step of the way under a structured and impactful programme.

our VWEX programme supports...

Young People

We give young people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to eye-opening virtual work experience placements and inspiring remote insight days

Schools and Colleges

We help educators and careers leaders to connect their students with high impact placements with top employers remotely, eliminating the typical costs of travel and accommodation.

Employers

We work with large and small organisations to ensure you deliver an exciting and meaningful virtual work experience to reach the most deserving candidates across the country.

Young people

Try the job in real life

Engage with hundreds of employers through free VWEX and start expanding your horizons.

  • Experience the world of work first-hand
  • Gain an insight into different roles across a wide range of industries
  • Find out about the various career paths available
  • Build on your skills and improve your self-confidence
“It was a great experience and I wish that it lasted longer. I learnt many skills and it was a unique experience that was a positive from this pandemic.”
Post-placement feedback survey for a Green Skills VWEX placement
“My placement was an amazing experience for me to grow in confidence and team working skill as well in getting a taster of the real world of work in green careers. It's increased my knowledge of working and has made me feel more confident for the future.”
Post-placement feedback survey for a Green Skills VWEX placement
“My placement was greatly captivating and very informative in the areas of construction, especially green construction. Presentations were well-organised and well-delivered, and provided a brilliant insight into the engineering & construction world which otherwise I would not have known, as well as helping with my confidence in group work and presenting my own projects.”
Post-placement feedback survey for a Green Skills VWEX placement
“Many young students have been prevented from doing in-person work experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but virtual work experience is equally as good. It is very helpful because sometimes you are set on one career path without fully understanding it, and doing work experience can make you realise you are more interested or well suited to a different industry or job. During one workshop, I learnt how to measure my own carbon footprint, which definitely left some food for thought!”
One of our students who did Green Skills VWEX, quoted in the press
“This work experience provided so much insight for me into the world of careers in engineering, in two main senses. The first is that, through the lecturers and speakers, the idea of a career in this field became so much clearer and closer… It also showed me so much about the diversity of the occupation, and how many different fields I could go in to, from health and safety to environmental protection.”
Student case study on VWEX with Align JV
“I took part in a virtual work experience over half term with Morgan Sindall Construction. The good thing about this work experience was that not only did I learn a lot about the of work, but I also made multiple new friends with people from all over the UK from the ages of 16-18.”
Feb VWEX with Morgan Sindall
“As I have carried both in person and virtual placements, the biggest advantage of a virtual placement is that you are able to join from the comfort of your own home, which means there is no travel time.”
Student case study on Virtual Insight Day with RAPP

Employers

Host work experience

Engage with young people from thousands of state secondary schools and colleges across the UK by hosting VWEX placements.

  • Meets latest national standards for best practice for VWEX in all UK regions, including Gatsby Benchmarks 5 and 6
  • Delivers against your ESG, CSR and DEI targets
  • Delivers against Skills Builder Universal Framework and objectives set by Skills Development Scotland
  • Offers full safeguarding
  • 4 service levels available
  • 3 different varieties of VWEX available
  • Easy to implement and fully scalable
  • Out-of-hours customer support available
“We are excited about growing the potential of the young people of Northern Ireland. Whilst we adapt to COVID-safe working, we must not sacrifice young people’s access to career experiences. We are delighted to partner with Speakers for Schools to equip today's young people with the digital literacy and critical thinking skills that our future economy will so desperately need.”
Gemma Crothers, Social Responsibility Manager, Kainos (Belfast technology organisation)
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this unique experience, particularly during a time where it is almost impossible for schools and colleges to enable real life work experience. Although students can’t be at one of our sites in person, they will get to virtually meet real life defence scientists and find out about some of the exciting science projects they are working on. They’ll be developing their employability skills too, as we’ll be setting exciting interactive challenges relating to each of the work areas.”
Jaime Williamson, heads up Early Careers for Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory)
“We thought the pandemic would prevent us from offering the chance for young people to experience life in the NHS before they have to take the next steps in their career/educational journey. But we have found that by partnering with companies like Speakers for Schools we can still offer these opportunities in new and innovative ways, potentially allowing us to reach even more young people both individually and whilst in the classroom.”
Sallie Johnson, NHS Futures Manager at NHS Futures Team, The Royal Wolverhampton Trust
“Really pleased to still be able to offer young people this opportunity despite the circumstances. I found the young people to be incredibly engaged and motivated and asked lots of good questions. They were eager to learn as much as they could from us, and it was refreshing for me to share what I know with young people. I hope the students that took part have learnt something and would now consider a career in my sector.”
Heidi Isacks, Technology Internal Comms and Events Coordinator, Tesco
“We were so impressed with the young people we worked with virtually over the week as they engaged whole-heartedly in all the activities. As well as broadening their life skills we hope that this opportunity to learn about the industry may inspire and pave the way for more young people to consider a future career in tourism.”
Debra Lang, HR Director, VisitBritain

Educators

Offer work experience to your students

Engage with hundreds of employers through our immersive free VWEX to start expanding your students’ horizons.

  • Meets latest national standards for best practice for VWEX in all UK regions, including Gatsby Benchmarks 5 and 6
  • Delivers against Skills Builder Universal Framework and objectives set by Skills Development Scotland
  • Offers full safeguarding
  • 3 different varieties of VWEX available
  • Easy to implement and fully scalable
  • No cost to your school or to your parents

Find out more about our VWEX

Speakers for Schools launched its Virtual Work Experience (VWEX) programme to complement its existing in-person work experience programme shortly before the start of the pandemic. Since then, we have seen a massive surge in uptake and demand for VWEX from young people, employers and educators.

During the 12-month period April 2020 to March 2021, we delivered 15,127 work experience placements. 95% of these placements were delivered through VWEX.

Virtual Work Experience (VWEX) is essentially a remote opportunity offered by employers to share experiences of the world of work which can be accessed by schools, colleges, students, and young people online without having to travel to the employer’s office or base.

At Speakers for Schools, we offer three types of VWEX placements:

  • Discovery Days (1-2 hour sessions)
  • Virtual Insight Days (1-day taster session)
  • Work Experience (3-5-day structured programme)

All our VWEX placements can be offered either by region, by country or UK-wide.

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