THE Bendigo Bank is urging local businesses to invest in the city's youth.
It says business owners and managers should register with Career Horizons, a City of Greater Bendigo-run website that connects workplaces with students seeking work experience.
Managing director Mike Hirst said offering work placements was a smart move for business owners.
"Youths in society are an undervalued resource," he said.
"The value they can add to a business even in a short period of work is significant.
"Employers always need to refresh their staff ... to open up opportunities to youth is a smart thing to do."
He said there was currently a shortage of work placements offered to students across the Loddon Mallee region.
He said the bank was taking the lead through its work experience program, which offered 80 students the chance to take part in a specially-tailored, one-week placement.
Ruby Baker and Aleisha Hansford, both 16 and students at Bendigo Senior Secondary College, have been through the program and spoke highly of it.
Ms Baker, who hopes to study psychology at university, said she spent the week learning about community initiatives the bank supported.
She said the experience was an eye-opener.
"Before I was really scared about getting a job but now it looks fun," she said.
Ms Hansford, who wants to be a youth worker, spent her time with the human resources team learning valuable people skills.
"I gained experience of what it's like in the business world," she said.
"I never knew how many people worked in the bank or how many jobs there were."
Mr Hirst said work experience placements were a necessary part of developing a sustainable local workforce.
City of Greater Bendigo business development manager Peter Jeffrey said the Career Horizons website enabled businesses to easily offer student placements.
For more information go to www.careerhorizons.com.au