Your Child's Work Experience
Work experience is an important part of a student’s education and also a good way to help bridge the gap between school and employment once schooling has finished.
Students at Key Stage 4 (aged 14 to 19 years old) are obliged by law to undertake a period of work experience so that they might gain some understanding as to how adults already in the world of work conduct themselves. This work experience will take place at the employer’s place of work – or premises – and may last initially for one week but then with an option for a further two weeks later on in the school year.
There are few limitations as to what a pupil can undertake during this period of work experience although it is a given that working in a military or law enforcement area is not likely to be allowed given Health and Safety issues.
Work experience is undertaken in conjunction with prospective employers to try and establish two things:
1. Is the student employable?
2. Do they have the right skills – both interpersonal and job related.
Is the student employable; an important question to ask and carrying out this period of work experience seeks to answer it by demonstrating the student’s ability to perform tasks given to them as well as how they work on their own initiative.
Do they have the right skills; do they possess the right skills and qualifications from an academic view point as well as having the ability to deal with those around them in a manner befitting of an employee?
Careers advice is also given during this time spent with an employer and the student is encouraged to ask any questions he or she might have as well as being encouraged to incorporate themselves into their working environment.
It is also an important time to establish - as a student – whether or not a desired career choice is the right one or if they should rethink their options. Many students have considered going into a particular line of work whilst still in education – only to discover during their work experience – that this choice might not necessary be the right one for them. Again this is an important aspect of work experience and one which should be used to the fullest.
Work experience also allows the student first hand knowledge and experience of a potential career choice and gives them the opportunity to talk to people already employed in that role. This enables them to find out what experience is necessary to undertake such a job and also what academic qualifications are required.
During their work experience a student should expect to be treated in exactly the same way as an existing member of the workforce and should expect no preferential treatment. He or she should also expect to work the same hours as those around them but – differing from a proper job of employment – they should seek no recompense for their endeavours.
A student must remember when carrying out their work experience that this time is a time to gain experience about how individuals should conduct themselves in the work place as well as gaining valuable insights into their potential future roles.
Where possible students should make notes, ask question, and incorporate themselves into their temporary surroundings and also – where it is feasible – find out about the roles of others within their designated area of employment.