Last month, leading public service provider Amey delivered a virtual work experience programme for 24 students across the UK, to provide an insight into Amey’s Highways business, give hands-on project experience and teach employability skills.  

For three days, the students aged between 14 and 18 worked with Amey contract teams in Staffordshire, Sheffield Streets Ahead and Kent to find out what they do and the different roles on each contract, touching on everyday maintenance, scheme works and innovations. 

Students were split into teams and across the three days were tasked with reviewing the Sheffield Streets Ahead current winter service and reporting back on how we could improve four areas: finance, health and safety, environment and communications. On the final afternoon each team were given the opportunity to present their ideas to a six person Amey panel who provided feedback to each student. 

To support and guide the students, 20 experts from across Amey and the Kent, Sheffield Streets Ahead and Staffordshire contracts gave interactive sessions on each topic and dropped into the breakout groups to offer additional support and advice. 

The students also attended a session on presentation skills, which taught how to plan, put together and present their ideas. Only seven of the students had ever given a presentation before, but every single student overcame their fears and used their new skills to present to the Amey panel. 

One of the students commented: “The experience was excellent, and my honest opinion was I thought this experience was going to be so boring as it was online. But you did the impossible and you made this experience so interactive and taught us so much that will hopefully help us in the future.” 

As well as giving an insight into working at Amey, employees also delivered a variety of different sessions including CV writing, interview practice, career chats with Amey apprentices and graduates to give a flavour of different career paths available, and an essential skills framework workshop where each student identified the skills they already have and the ones they want to work towards. 

Amey Social Value Advisor, Sarah Hale, who organised the work experience week, said: “It was an absolute delight to host the virtual work experience week, all of the students engaged with the sessions and provided some amazing responses to the task we gave them.  

“We really wanted the students to come away feeling like they’d had a real insight into what it’s like to work at Amey and give them a clear path of how they could achieve that type of job. We gave each student a logbook so that they were able to jot down any learnings they had, and any areas they wanted to improve on. Hopefully they will take the skills and experience with them on their journey. We’ve already had some amazing feedback and I’m excited to start planning the next virtual work experience week.” 

Amey worked in partnership with Speakers for Schools to provide a safe and secure work experience programme. The partnership enabled Amey to deliver meaningful and structured work experience to young people wherever they reside, enabling students from all backgrounds to apply.  

Offering work experience forms part of Amey’s Social Value Plan commitment to ‘open doors to those that face barriers or inequality’.  COVID-19 has had a marked impact on young people across the UK and to reinforce our support, we developed a Young People Strategy.   

 Recognising the difficulties faced by young people in accessing and engaging with the workplace, we have introduced work experience in its new virtual form, to ensure we can support those most in need, with an aim to create a positive and lasting legacy for generations to come.