UK businesses are being offered the opportunity to 'Test Drive Talent' under a new SummitSkills' initiative, which will see gifted young students undertake short-term work placements.

Businesses in the electrotechnical, heating and ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration or plumbing industries are being asked to provide work experience to students aged 16 and over currently on full time college courses studying for qualifications in the building services engineering sector.

Placements will last from 10 to 20 days, spread out over several weeks or as a single block of time, and companies that take part will simply need to bring the student into their day-to-day projects and involve them in work routines, giving them the opportunity to get hands-on experience and develop their skills.

SummitSkills’ said those who offer their time can also expect wider associated benefits.

“The students being selected for the placements are the high achievers in their class – they can bring new perspectives and the latest knowledge and skills to your business,” said Keith Marshall OBE, chief executive of SummitSkills.

“This project will provide advice and support to employers to reduce any worries that they may have about offering work placements. Offering this kind of work experience sends a positive message to your staff and customers about the values of your organisation; we hope that many businesses will recognise these benefits and be willing to take part.”

As part of the project SummitSkills will also be working with employers to help them overcome barriers and misconceptions which can discourage businesses from offering these valuable opportunities to students.

Employers will have the opportunity to sign up to a ‘Youth Pledge’ to demonstrate their support for developing the skills of young people.

Colleges around the country are signed up to the initiative to match students with local businesses. To find out more call 01908 303960 or visit