SOME of the county's biggest businesses have given young people tips as they get their first taste of the world of work.

As many school pupils take on work experience placements in the coming weeks, responsible business group Reciprocate has published an open letter to them.

Many of the companies that make up the group – such as Allen Associates, the Ashmolean Museum and Oxford Bus Company – have years of experience offering placements to pupils in Year 10 and Year 11.

The letter was sent out to 19 schools across Oxfordshire to share with 3,000 pupils due on work experience in May, June and July.

The letter reads: "We're so pleased that you are taking on a work placement this year and want to wholeheartedly encourage you in this experience.

"To help you settle in to your placement we thought you might like to hear some top tips from the point of view of the employer to help you make a good impression during your placement and get as much out of it as you can."

The letter outlines six 'Ps' : be professional, be prepared, be polite, put yourself out there, be practical and take time to ponder.

It continues: "If you can get these things right who knows where your placement might lead you."

The letter was drawn up with the help of local youth work charity Thrive.

Its development manager Robin Peake said: "For some young people, who have grown up knowing doctors or lawyers, these professions seem normal.

"But for some young people, they feel alien.

"When a young person's role models are unemployed, it's little wonder that they have low aspirations for their work experience placement.

"I'm delighted that Oxfordshire Community Foundation and Reciprocate are levelling the playing field by letting every young person know what to do to have a successful work experience placement.

"These tips will demystify the process and help young people unleash their potential."

Each of the six 'Ps' comes with advice, such as being as communicative as possible and making notes before and during the placement.

Blenheim Palace is a member of reciprocate and took the lead in producing the letter alongside construction company Beard and work-experience brokerage service O2i.

Blenheim Palace operations director Heather Carter said: "It is so important that businesses invest time and effort into encouraging young people to consider their future careers.

"Offering opportunities to them in the workplace in a planned way is hugely beneficial to a young person in this process."