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Mixed reports

What the children said

* "It was so different from school. I think I learned for the first time how sheltered school life really is."

* "I thought I'd be filling shelves all day but instead I was allowed to work in different parts of the store and it was really interesting. I will definitely think about taking up a career in retailing."

* "The job was very boring and I did almost the same thing every day. It helped my career decision as I found out that if I don't do well, I might end up in a job like this."

* "I liked the way I was treated like an adult, unlike in school."

* "Gave me good experience with pressure and working to deadlines - and I found out why late nights and work next day don't mix."

What the employers said

* "The children cling to you like leeches - I wouldn't be a teacher for all the tea in China."

* "Has a dreadful attitude problem. No employer would tolerate his apathetic demeanour and lack of effort for long."

* "Was great. A bright young worker with lots to offer."

* "Very interested in all parts of the kitchen, with a strong intent to learn. Definitely one of the chefs of the future."

* "He's essentially lazy."

* "The kind of young lady anyone would be keen to employ - smart, kind, attentive, and keen to listen and learn."

* "Restored our hopes for the future."

Source: SMF report, 'How Effective is Work Experience?'

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