Although work experience, a begrudging ritual for tens of thousands of 15 and 16-year olds, is not until late July, some schools have supplemented lessons which teach students how to apply for a placement, with lessons that teach students the art of photocopying and coffee-making.
"It's essential that work experience is just that - work experience," says Mr. Bunton, a year-11 form tutor. "Students need to know that temp jobs, like what they'll go through in July, focus on making sure that youngsters make the coffee or beverage needed by the staff, and photocopying 200 pages of useless crap from a copier two-hundred metres away in another part of the workplace."
Some business leaders welcome the new plans. "Oh yes, this is useful," says Mr. John Cooper, head of an accounting firm in West Birmingham, which will offer 20 placements in July. "Some say we need to emphasis team-work, and life skills, etcetera, oh, and using latin words in common speech, you know - ex nihlo? But really, we're going to do this to 'em anyway, 'cause it's pretty much slave labour. These kids learn priceless skills, and we get some teen to do our stuff that Dave the new guy did. Win-fricking-win."
The course, which is now standard as part of the national curriculum for PSHE/Citizenship, will teach kids two different elements:
- "ESSENTIAL OPERATING" - the on-off buttons, and the fact than you can print off more than ONE COPY at the printer, but they're too apathetic to understand
- "BREWING AND ITS USES" - The reasons why these losers drink the stuff, even though they don't need it
But, for the achieving, there is a third part, just for those who actually need the work experience, because they're most likely to go to university.
- "BEING UNDERVALUED" - Even though you may be on the way to an 'A' in several subject your numbskill seniors, who got by on daddy's money and have worse grades than Jack who sits in the back row, will treat you as shit.
However, there are some students who feel that the work experience idea is just too purile.
"What the hell?" says Ranjit Kapur, 16, who would like to do an sociology major at Coventry University. "If I wanted to do slave labour for two weeks, I could just go to my ancestral home of India and work in a sweatshop for a bit. It'll be more meaningful than copying and coffee, and I'd get better pay."