There is a massive shortfall in the number of opportunities available for the 2.3 million university students in the UK. Employers are crying out for work-ready graduates, and students need the employability skills businesses demand. Right now, there is not enough volume or quality of work experience available.

Every experience counts

In response to this, we have come together, The National Centre for Universities and Business, Jisc and Unite Students, to develop Placer. A work experience app and platform connecting employers offering work experience opportunities directly with students – enabling access to a diverse pool of talent.

Work experience is a low-cost route to accessing the next generation of talent. But as well as being part of a great recruitment strategy, it also offers opportunities to develop existing staff, engage with the local community and bring in fresh new perspectives to the business. And for the student, it leads to increased self-confidence, better employment prospects and high earning potential.

Using Placer, employers can carve out a work experience offer that’s right for their organisation. A day taster, a week, a month or even a year placement – every experience counts – a day can sometimes be all it takes to make an impression.

The Placer app uses new matchmaking technology to enable students to swipe left or swipe right in search of their perfect work experience match. Students can find local work experience opportunities through location-based tech and view companies based on occupation, sector and the duration of the role. Placer puts your opportunities directly into their hands.

Diversify your talent pool

Research from the National Centre for Universities and Business revealed organisations cite word-of-mouth as the key channel to access work experience applicants. This impacts businesses’ ability to recruit a diverse range of candidates. And with internships or work placements being the key ingredient to developing work-ready graduates, where does this leave those students without family connections, outside of existing exclusive networks, or those based in remote locations?

New tech: tackling unconscious bias

A structured process, in which placements are advertised publicly, benefits the business by helping to ensure young people are recruited on merit, not based on who they know. Placer’s powerful tech is one part of the solution. It reduces unconscious bias in the selection process, focusing on skills and interests rather than existing experience, and enables employers to reach a pool of students far beyond their own networks.

This has benefits in two ways; firstly, it levels the playing field for the student as employers shortlist candidates based on their skills and interests alone. Secondly, it enables students to look beyond familiar big brand names, and learn where their skills and interests fit with a wide range of employers they may not have previously considered.

With Placer, whether your organisation is big or small you can post just once and reach multiple universities and students. So, if you are an employer offering work experience and seeking to recruit diverse talent, with the right skills, sign-up now to Placer.