14-18 Work Experience and Career Skills Programmes

Here at The MERL we know how important it is for young people to experience the world of work to give them an insight into a range of careers and to learn essential skills to aid their employability.

We are keen to support schools and colleges to achieve The Gatsby Benchmark, particularly benchmarks 5: Encounters with employers and employees and 6: Experiences of workplaces.

As well as being able to offer speakers for virtual careers events, we have a comprehensive work experience programme for pre and post 16 students often in partnership with Reading Museum. Due to Covid-19 our physical placements are currently on hold however it is possible to book a deferred placement or there may be virtual projects available that young people can work on remotely.

Places are limited, however there are other opportunities to get involved such as our Youth Panel (see below) or by becoming a regular volunteer.

For further information please contact our Widening Participation Officer.

Learn more about our Work Experience programmes here:

Virtual Youth Panel

Our Youth Panel works across The MERL and Reading Museum and is for young people aged 14 – 18. We meet regularly during term time to work on a variety of exciting projects which are great for developing a range of transferable skills. Our panel members influence current projects and programming and are change-makers within Reading’s culture and heritage sector.

Join us!

The Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum are looking for enthusiastic individuals to join our Youth Panel.
As a member you will:
  • help ensure the museums are relevant to young visitors
  • gain behind-the-scenes museum experience working with museum professionals
  • learn transferable skills
  • have a fantastic project for your CV, UCAS or job application
  • meet new people
Meetings will take place every third Thursday of the month online 4.30pm – 5.30pm from September 2020.


Our Youth Panel are currently working as curators for the Festival 50 exhibition project. By joining our panel now, you will be influencing the development of this exhibition marking the 1971 Reading Festival which will be displayed at Reading Museum from August 2021. Learning what is required to put on a public exhibition, you will research, select and interpret items for display and work with us in developing an exhibition which is appealing to the young people of Reading.

Recent projects include:

  • Designing ‘The Nook at The MERL’, the new social learning space as part of the Our Country Lives redevelopment project. Students worked with museum staff and designers to create a new, relaxing space where students and the public are welcome to study, relax and reflect.
  • Our Panel have organised two successful Museums at Night events, the ‘1951 Vintage Night’ and ‘Chalk or Cheese?’.

Next Sessions

Our panel meets virtually on the third Thursday of the month. The next session is scheduled for Thursday 20 May 4.30 – 5.30pm.

For more information on how to join, please contact merlevents@reading.ac.uk