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:

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 typically every third Thursday of the month online or in person 4:30 – 6pm.


Our Youth Panel are currently working with us on the Youth Manifesto Project, exploring how the museums in Reading can be inspriring and engaging for and relevant to the young people of Reading.

Recent projects include:

  • Working as curators for the Festival 50 exhibition project (2021). Panel members influenced the development of the exhibition marking the 1971 Reading Festival displayed at Reading Museum from August 2021. Panel members learned what is required to put on a public exhibition, researched, selected and interpreted items for display and worked with us in developing an exhibition which is appealing to the young people of Reading.
  • 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?’.


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