Training specialist’s plea for more work experience

A FAREHAM training specialist has called for more work experience provision to help career starters and changers have a better chance at new roles

Christine Baxter, founder of Gold Edge Training, believes this – aligned with independently studying for professional qualifications – would give candidates a head start.

She said: “Employers want to see commitment and compliance. Commitment is demonstrated by personally financing your first level of study.

“Compliance is gaining employment as soon as you are able to be moulded into company requirements.

“If you can complete work experience as you study, commitment and compliance are automatically met and the employment world is your oyster.”

Work experience is time spent in a workplace learning about a job role, a company or a career sector, usually unpaid. Companies are now also developing virtual work experience in line with current hybrid work patterns.

According to distance-learning expert Christine, based in Whiteley, financial constraints were often a barrier to career progression.

People could not afford to drop salary to start at the bottom again or were unable to afford the necessary study to make the career change happen – or both.

“These barriers are massive and yet are never addressed or seen as obstacles to personal or economic growth,” she said. “Currently, government-based education incentives offer the dream to improve but ignore the reality of the requirements necessary to grow.

“Often you will see references such as ‘education will kickstart your employment for a better future’.  This is true, but far from straightforward and, for some, impossible because the barriers to change still remain.

“The career formula should read ‘education with work experience enables new employment and a better future’. It’s a win-win formula every time.

“Adding work experience to education naturally removes financial barriers because it removes the label of ‘qualified without experience’.

“With work experience included, a career changer or starter is immediately equal to those already in the industry’s job market.”

And Christine, whose previous careers were in industry, further education management and accountancy lecturing, called for action to increase the amount of work experience available.

Award-nominated Gold Edge Training, established in 2012, offers more than 900 courses across business sectors, particularly accountancy. Its students equal the highest industry-standard Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) distance learning pass rates in the UK.

PICTURED: Christine Baxter, founder of Whiteley-based distance learning specialist Gold Edge Training, is calling for greater emphasis on work experience to make changing career easier