Work experience contract retendered

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Students will see little change despite moves to retender the work experience contract, education chiefs insist.

The government ended its contract at the end of March with my-work-experience.com to provide work experience for young people from the island’s five secondary schools.

A tendering process will begin for the contract in the coming months.

Sheffield-based my-work-experience.com has contacted 1,300 island employers about the decision to end its contract.

Directors Phil Porter and Ron Robinson said they have received a deluge of emails in response from companies ‘very disappointed and also very critical’ of how the issue has been handled by the government.

‘They are also concerned, as we are, about the status of the placements they have offered to students over the summer term,’ the pair added.

The Department of Education and Children said in a statement that previously arranged work placements will be honoured and Tracy Keig, my-work-experience.com’s island-based administrator would stay on for six months to manage the programme.

It said: ‘We are happy to confirm that existing commitments to on-Island work experience already agreed with my-work-experience.com will be honoured.

‘For the next six months Tracy Keig who was the on-Island administrator for my-work-experience.com has agreed to manage the work experience programme.

‘It is therefore envisaged that during this six month period those using the work experience service will see little if any change.

‘In line with government financial regulations during the coming months a tendering process will commence for the island’s work experience contract.’

My-work-experience.com was awarded the contract in 2007 by winning a tendering process against at least two other organisations.

Its directors said the programme for Manx schools had gone from strength to strength over the past seven years - and one key factor in that success was the selection, training and guidance of first Fiona Lambie and then Tracy Keig as the on-island representatives who worked on a sub-contract basis.

Mr Porter and Mr Robinson said: ‘We were fully aware that the provision of future work experience was coming up for tender in the coming year with a wider brief, based on detailed proposals that my-work-experience.com had submitted during 2014, to include students from the college and post 16 students in schools.

‘As our contract was up for renewal at the end of March 2015 we had put forward proposals to continue to provide our service until all schools had completed their work experience for 2015 and if required help with a smooth transition to a new provider.

‘As off-islanders we recognise we have been at a disadvantage, particularly in the past few months. We have no idea what behind the scenes ‘deals’ have been made.

‘We know too well from our long careers working in and for education authorities that decisions taken are more about who you know and politics than loyalty and negotiation.

‘Maybe one day we will find out the truth.’

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