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| Posted by: Hannah Smith

Make Work Experience Work For You

Over the summer, Alice joined us for work experience. Alice approached us with a clear idea of what she wanted to gain from the week; we on the other hand, had no expectations of what we might learn. There was definitely nervousness around what we could offer, how we could manage this and how we would find the time to support this.

I imagine a lot of employers think like this, that taking on a work experience pupil is a bit of a burden – ‘How can we keep this person busy for a week?’, ‘What tasks can we give them?’ ‘What about health and safety?’ We learnt that this doesn’t need to be the case – Alice was a massive help to us whilst she was here.

What did we learn and how did we benefit?

  1. Young people want to gain as much experience as possible to prepare them for the working world, so make the most of their enthusiasm and eagerness; Alice spent time researching for our Executive and Talent Attraction teams and helped update records with the HR department – this didn’t just give her the vital skills and experience she needed but helped us with our day-to-day tasks.
  2. Young people can offer interesting ideas from a different perspective. Get new thoughts and opinions on projects you’re working on.
  3. Learn something new - Technology and IT play a massive part in school curriculum these days. Make the most of the social media and IT skills that your work experience pupil has and learn something from them!
  4. Take pride in teaching young people vital skills for them to succeed in the future. Some businesses can struggle to find young employees with the right skills and experience. Similarly, young people find it difficult to get themselves on the job ladder because they lack the right experience and skills. Work experience is a great selling point for someone who is looking for their first job. In the end, this benefits the person looking for a job and the employer.
  5. It was easy to set up and support – start with what the person wants to learn and and go from there. There are always tasks around the office that a person on work experience can support with and whilst you need to be mindful, you don’t need to make any changes to accommodate a work placement. It is also a great opportunity for a team member to directly support and mentor a young person.

Work experience can be just as beneficial to the employer as the person on work experience and it doesn’t take two minutes to arrange. Businesses and schools working together can provide benefits for everybody involved: most importantly it will provide young people with vital skills and attributes they need to bridge the gap between school and employment.

Help build the future. #Trustyouth to work.

Article by Hannah Smith – Hannah joined Prospectus in 2013 as an apprentice. In 2015 she was promoted to Office Manager.