The Who, What, Why, When and Where of Work Experience
All learners on Study Programmes (aged below 19 at the start of the course in September) must complete an element of work experience as a part of their course of study. This is a directive from the Department of Education and one Havering College takes seriously. Details on work experience are subject to audit by Ofsted so the college needs to ensure all paperwork and procedures are followed correctly.
The College is piloting extended placements (industry Placements) of 45 days in preparation of the new T-Level qualifications that the government is rolling out from 2020. Some learners on Level 3 courses will be invited to take part in this exciting new venture and be able to take advantage of working with an employer every week to gain new skills, gain experience and be more work ready for the future.
Work experience should be purposeful, substantial, offer challenge and be relevant to the young persons’ study programme and career aspirations. It should have a structured plan for the duration of the placement, focus on the skills required for that area and be followed up by some form of reference/feedback from the employer based on the young person’s performance. To do this
Learners will not be Managing Director on their placement! They will often be given tasks that they think are not relevant however all opportunities are a chance to learn. Learners are required to complete a log book when on placement as many skills learned during the placement can be put onto a CV for future use in looking for a job/apprenticeship. It is worth remembering that people of all ages make the tea – this is not a reflection on a learner’s age or ability.
Placements can take place at any time during the academic year depending on the course of study. There may be set times/weeks during the year where you are on placement or it could be fitted around the days when you are not attending college. It is worth noting placements are not always 9:00am-5:00pm. They could, and often do, involve weekend work (hairdressers, retail) or even unsocial hours (theatre, leisure centres).
Ideally, placements should be with a business/organisation closely matching what is being studied but some areas of work are difficult to source placements due to health and safety issues. In these instances, a ‘close match’ would be acceptable. For example, it is difficult to place a 16-year-old on a construction site so a placement with a builder’s merchant would be acceptable.
Work experience is a taster of the world of work. For many learners, this will be their first experience of working and an opportunity to improve their employability skills is key to finding employment in the future.
Work Experience Is the best way to get a real sense of your chosen industry and to also check it is definitely something you want to pursue in the future; it will give you the opportunity without commitment. It is worth noting that many employers ask for previous experience and if you have not had a job they will look to see what work experience you have undertaking. Doing work experience also shows passion and interest to future employers. It proves you are motivated to get into a chosen career and that you have done your homework
Learners are required (on most courses) to find their own placement. This will help develop your own communication skills such as telephoning as employer. You may wish to visit a prospective placement provider with your CV to ask for an opportunity. How you find your placement is entirely up to you. For some areas a placement will be found for you, such as in Hospitality and Legal Secretaries however to guarantee your perfect placement. There is a form you use for this. Please get it completed and returned to the team based at Ardleigh Green Campus as soon as possible in September.