Nothing beats hands-on experience for gaining an insight into working life. Opening your doors to young people is an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of your organisation and industry, and help students transition into the workplace. And, if they enjoy the experience, you could have a future employee. Activities range from donating equipment, hosting a workplace visit or offering two weeks of work experience to taking on an intern, a long-term volunteer or an undergraduate on a year in industry.
Hosting a short workplace visit for an individual or group of students gives young people an overview of your organisation and industry, and an insight into the working environment. It is also a great opportunity to inspire their future work experience and career choices.
The visit could be a few hours or a full day, and include presentations, site tours, hands-on experience and/or Q&A sessions.
This gives young people the opportunity to spend time observing (shadowing) one or more employees for a short period. This offers the student a snapshot view of a role, working life, and your organisation.
Job shadowing usually takes place over one to three days. It can form the early part of a short work experience.
Short periods of work experience can provide a useful introduction to the workplace. Students typically spend up to two weeks within an organisation undertaking a number of activities under supervision. The experience will help develop students’ general understanding of the workplace, build their confidence, possibly influence their choice of career path, and support their preparation for the transition from school or college into employment. Alongside this, employers have the opportunity to showcase their organisation and industry.
Industry placements for 16–19 year olds
During an industry placement a student spends an extended period of time with an employer as part of their formal education programme. They gain essential workplace knowledge and skills that employers seek, thus helping to prepare them for employment or further training. Placements may be delivered in one block or spread over the duration of the student’s course. Placements also give employers additional resource for their team, and an opportunity to introduce a student to the organisation and industry. The employer may use the placement to assess a student’s capability with a view to future recruitment, for example, to an apprenticeship or other job role.
Placements and internships for HE students
Many higher education (HE) courses include a period of up to a year, spent in industry, enabling students to build their knowledge and skills in the workplace setting. This may be paid or voluntary. Students have the opportunity to develop relevant industry and essential skills. Employers can use the opportunity to assess a student’s capability and often recruit direct from their placement programmes.
Volunteering opportunities can provide students with experience of the workplace and career inspiration. The unpaid placement will often be arranged between the student and the employer, and there may not be formal requirements, such as length or goals, specified by the student’s school, college or university. Volunteers would not be expected to be responsible for specific roles or projects.