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Information for businesses offering work experience

Work experience provides an invaluable opportunity for young people to gain insight and experience into the world of work. It supports students’ personal and social development and often contributes to their GCSE, GNVQ or A level coursework.

There is vast potential for learning through work experience. The use of placements in business and industry can help young people to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for employment. It reinforces that learning takes place out of, as well as in, the classroom, and enhances the students’ perceptions of the relevance of the work they undertake in school or college.

 

Benefits of work experience to young people

The specific aims and objectives of work experience will vary according to the individual needs of particular students, but there are many common benefits.

 

Work experience can:

  • Help students relate the knowledge and skills they are developing at school to the world of work;
  • Develop students’ vocational skills; Increase students’ understanding of economic and industrial issues, citizenship, environmental and health education;
  • Help students to develop increased maturity, self-confidence, flexibility, self-reliance and the ability to work with others; and
  • Enable students to clarify their thoughts and make decisions about their future career choices.

 

Benefits of work experience to employers

There are also benefits for employers. These include:

  • Helping to improve the quality and preparedness of young people entering the labour market.
  • Developing recruitment channels and raising the profile of career opportunities in the company.
  • Helping to promote vocational qualifications.
  • Raising the company’s profile within the community.
  • Creating management development opportunities for the company’s staff.
  • Increasing motivation of company employees involved in work experience organisation and supervision.
  • Fostering greater understanding in the company of educational changes.

 

Who organises work experience placements?

The main responsibility for the organisation of work experience placements in West Sussex schools and colleges rests with the school or college work experience coordinator. They will usually make the initial contact with your company, but in some cases the student may make a direct approach.

 

What do I have to do to become a work experience host?

New work experience hosts will be asked to complete a simple registration form, confirming their insurance cover for employer and public liability. Then, with permission, the company’s details are added to the county database of work experience hosts.

The provision of work experience to school children is coordinated by the main colleges in the county. If you are looking to host a work experience student, here are some contact details:

 

Central Sussex College

Email: employers@centralsussex.ac.uk

Phone: 0845 155 0043 (press 4)

 

Chichester College

Email: webmaster@chichester.ac.uk

Phone: 01243 786321

 

Northbrook College

Email: business.solutions@nbcol.ac.uk

Phone: 01903 273 114

 

What is the legal status of students on work experience?

Under health and safety law, students on work experience have the same status as employees. In addition, they are treated as employees for the purpose of insurance against personal injury, provided your insurers have been notified.

 

When do work experience placements occur and what tasks are students usually given?

Placements will normally occur during school term time, throughout the academic year and will usually last for one or two weeks. In some cases, extended periods of work experience may be arranged for individual students. The emphasis during the placement should be on 'doing' rather than watching, and the more varied the work can be, the better.

During the placement, students must not be asked to do anything dangerous or use equipment without proper training and supervision. They must not be expected to do work which is unsuitable for young people or which is legally prohibited.

 

What hours can the student work?

The hours worked should be those appropriate for regular employees under 18 doing similar work and they should not exceed 40 hours per week, nor should they involve unnecessarily unsocial times.

 

Can the student receive payment for the work they undertake?

Students should not be paid for work done while on a work experience placement. However, employers may contribute towards travel costs and other expenses if they wish.



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