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Get Ahead Work Experience Programme

Helping students in South, West and East London build their confidence through guided work experience.






The Get Ahead Work Experience Programme supports students in South London, West London and East London through a free work experience placement with a local employer.

A recent report by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) and EDT found that two of the main barriers young people who are considered NEET (not in education, employment or training) face today is a “lack of confidence” as well as a “lack of connection with employers”.

To tackle the rising number of youth unemployment and skills shortages in London, the Get Ahead Work Experience Programme offers a guided vocational experience scheme for young learners aged over 16 in partnership with the Greater London Authority.

How to register

Registrations are now open to schools, training providers and employers in East, South and West London. To review our benefits and eligibility criteria, please scroll down to the relevant sections.


Programme details

The Get Ahead Work Experience Programme aims to source sustainable work experience placements for young learners. By registering for the programme, they will access dedicated one-to-one support with a Work-Related Learning Adviser (WRLA) and extensive engagement with a local employer over a period of two to five days.

The 2023 London Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) acknowledges the existence of local skills shortages which hinder the growth of many businesses. Connecting the next generation of our workforce to local employers will not only provide opportunities for sustainable employment but also an active contribution to a thriving economy.

London’s job market is complex and highly skilled, making it particularly daunting for young people who lack appropriate skills and experience of the world of work. A survey by Education and Employers found that young people who recalled having four or more instances of contact with an employer at school were 86 per cent less likely to be NEET than those who had had no such involvement and would earn on average up to 22 per cent more over their lifetime.

We therefore encourage non-traditional placements to broaden students’ horizons and increase their career aspirations. We aim to offer students a learning experience that has real-world applicability and will help them take their next step towards pursuing their dream career.

Schools and training providers may register students on the Get Ahead Programme who are at risk of becoming NEET after leaving education (for full eligibility criteria, please see below). Our Work-Related Learning Advisers will support these students to find work experience tailored to their interests, aspirations, and abilities. This will include:

  • pre-placement group activities.
  • access and assessment through Skills Builder Benchmark.
  • 1-2-1 personal support covering travel planning, contacting the employer and advice on maximising the outputs of their placement.
  • work experience placement of two to five days.
  • post-placement reflective learning.


This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, click here.

Benefits of this programme

  • Tailored work experience
  • Collaborative planning and training with education institutions
  • Student barrier workshops
  • High-quality resources and guidance
  • Compliance with regulatory frameworks
  • Signposting post-education pathways

Student eligibility criteria

Schools and education providers in South London, West London and East London can get in touch and register students who:

  • Are aged between 16-19 or 16-25 with SEND requirements or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
  • Are considered by their education institution (another appropriate authority) as being at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) after leaving education and/or not completing their post-16 education course.
  • Are studying within one of London’s state-funded education institutions and situated within East, South or Western sub-regions.

Please note that students in post-16 education studying T-Level courses, which have a specific work experience requirement, will not be eligible for this programme.

The programme operates in these London boroughs
  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Bexley
  • Bromley
  • Enfield
  • Greenwich
  • Havering
  • Newham
  • Redbridge
  • Waltham Forest
  • Croydon
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Merton
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Sutton
  • Barnet
  • Brent
  • Ealing
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Harrow
  • Hillingdon
  • Hounslow

Benefits for schools & training providers

The Get Ahead Work Experience Programme aims to reduce youth unemployment in London through working with education providers, employers and students to support the delivery of work experience placements.

We aim to increase students' understanding of the work environment and enable them to take part in experiences of work which may improve their careers education, sustain their education and training, and improve their chances of successful progression outcomes into further education, employment, or training.

This service is free to schools and training providers who wish to register their learners.

Partnering schools and training providers with access to learners aged 16+ will benefit from a breadth of support and guidance available, including:

Tailored work experience

Our Work-Related Learning Advisers will support students to find work experience tailored to their interests, aspirations, and needs.

Collaborative planning and training with education institutions

Initial planning discussions with Careers Leaders to ensure our programme complements existing or planned interventions.

Teachers and Careers Leaders will have access to CPD and signposting to further support to effectively source future work experience placements.

High-quality resources and guidance

We will provide Information packs outlining the programme’s real-world applicability and complementarity to students' academic responsibilities. These resources will allow schools, students and guardians to learn more about the programme, plan their next steps and reflect on the activities undertaken.

Compliance with regulatory frameworks

We regularly map our provision against Ofsted's Common Inspection Framework (CIF) as well as Work Experience expectations. We also support schools and training providers in line with the Gatsby benchmarks.

Signposting post-education pathways

We will work with students to increase their awareness of their post-education career options, whatever their personal circumstances.

For further careers advice, online skills assessment tools, job profiles and more, visit the National Careers Service website. Alternatively, students, guardians and careers leaders can contact the service's national helpline by phoning 0800 100 900.

The National Citizen Service provides government-funded experiences for young people wanting to broaden their career horizons and strengthen their skills.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) hosts a broad set of resources on academic pathways and apprenticeships which can be a great starting point for students looking for information on a particular course or career.

Apprenticeships provide additional inspiration on vocational courses and in-person support for schools and colleges wishing to develop students’ knowledge on apprenticeships and T Levels.

Our Work-Related Learning Advisers can also help you and your students identify suitable careers events near you. Please get in touch for further details.

Benefits for employers

We will be partnering with local employers to support students through their work experience programme and address current skills shortages within their sector.

Employers who wish to become partners on the Get Ahead Work Experience Programme will be based in either South, West or East London and are equipped to provide industry-relevant and engaging 2 to 5-day placements which can be adapted to specific student needs.

In turn, we offer tailored support to partnering enterprises from our expert Work-Related Learning Advisers, including:

  • Advice on Health & Safety as well as insurance requirements.
  • Advice and guidance on delivering an effective work placement.
  • Engaging workshops to support employers including with challenges such as: creating work experience job descriptions, supporting SEND students, and showcasing your sector externally.
  • Access and introduction to the Skills Builder Benchmark.

Ongoing support and contact throughout the work experience placement.

How to register

We are currently taking registrations for schools, training providers and employers who are interested in our Get Ahead Work Experience Programme.

Please choose from the following options to find the most relevant information:

Schools & training providers

To register your interest, please get in touch with our team by emailing us here.

Any additional information you can provide regarding the number of students you wish to register as well as ways the programme can cater to their needs is appreciated.

The Get Ahead Work Experience Programme is delivered by Education Development Trust. To view our governance and policy documents, click here.


We welcome enterprises of all sizes from East, South and West London who wish to partner with the Get Ahead Work Experience Programme and host their own placements. To get in touch and register your interest, please email us here.

The Get Ahead Work Experience Programme is delivered by Education Development Trust. To view our governance and policy documents, click here.