Work experience seen as a valuable resource for careers advice provision in schools
The guidance says each college and school sixth form should consider either appointing an existing member of staff as a specialist work experience co-ordinator, or recruiting one. The trials found co-ordinators raised the status of work experience in institutions, were a cost-effective way of ensuring work experience became a priority and were vital in developing relationships with employers so they offer placements.
The guidance also says colleges and school sixth forms should:
• ensure that students who have completed work experience get some form of feedback from employers and also provide employers with feedback, in turn, to improve the quality of future placements
• match students to placement opportunities - by looking at their existing skills, the qualifications they are taking and their possible future career options - and then prepare them fully beforehand
• be flexible in terms of timing and length of placements - they could be once a week throughout a term, longer block placements, or a rotation of shorter placements at different employers so students can experience different aspects of the sector. This will depend on employers’ capacity and what the student needs to become work-ready
Schools and colleges have access to current work experience opportunities via the Yes2Jobs website. They can search for employers based on classification, areas of activity, and specific opportunity listings.
But it is equally important that employers don’t face unnecessary hurdles to taking on a work experience student and earlier this year the DfE outlined some of the changes that make it easier for employers to offer young people work experience.
As a result:
• the insurance industry has committed to treat work experience students as employees for the purposes of insurance against bodily injury, and confirmed that simply giving work experience opportunities to students will not in itself impact on insurance premiums
• the Health and Safety Executive has issued guidance providing clarity on employers’ obligations with regard to risk assessments - making it clear that if workplace risk has already been assessed with young people in mind, a business does not need to repeat this for each new student
• the Department for Education and Ofsted has published a guide to clarify the health and safety responsibilities for educational establishments organising work experience opportunities
The county council’s Yes2jobs website has a Health and Safety section which provides links to advice documents and websites including HSE - Young people at Work – help and advice on identifying, understanding and dealing with health and safety risks in the work place: - www.yes2jobs.co.uk