A Guide to Organising and Managing Work Experience for Teachers & Educators.
This guide provides teachers with everything they need to know for a Work Experience programme.
It contains a page-by-page guide on how to record your learners experience in their Individual logbook and the related materials found on the website, with suggestions for classroom activities and teacher support.
Why use this guide?
This guide has been put together by teachers and educational professionals, in order to support colleagues in organising work experience.
You will no doubt be familiar with some if not all of the advice provided, but we hope having all the guidance in one place will be of use and may also help those teachers who are setting up placements for the first time.
This Manual also Considers:
(a) Risk assessments
Students on work experience are classed as employees for health and safety purposes. Employers’ existing risk assessments may already cover risks that work experience students may be exposed to. If they have never had a student on work experience or employed someone under 18, they will need to review their risk assessment and modify if necessary to take account of any risks that may arise as a result of the young person’s age, lack of maturity or experience. You should satisfy yourself that the employer has carried out a suitable risk assessment procedure. If they are new to work experience, you may want to speak to them, to confirm that they are aware of the risks relating to the young person on work experience and that they have in place measures to control the identified risks.
(b) Employer’s Liability Insurance
If an employer has already employed a young person under 18, their Employer’s Liability Insurance will cover young people. You should ask for a copy of the Employer’s Liability Insurance policy, or at least the section relating to young people under 18.
(c) Criminal Record Check
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is responsible for processing requests for criminal record checks in England and Wales. The equivalent body in Scotland is Disclosure for Scotland and in Northern Ireland is Access Northern Ireland. Their purpose is to prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.
There is no legal requirement to do a criminal record check on any adult working with young people on work experience. However, in the interests of safeguarding young people, the education department in England issued guidance in 2010 that Schools in England are required to ‘have regard to’, and it provides a very useful summary of what to consider for all schools.
The guidance suggests that there are only limited placements (about 1%) which require a criminal record check to be done. In the vast majority of placements, the employer will not have regular unsupervised access to the student and it is not recommended that checks should be done in such cases. It is rare for a criminal record check to be needed on the young person themselves but you should consider carrying out a criminal record check on a 14-19 year old student if they might have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults, for example in a nursery, school or care home.
This will not be necessary if you confirm with the placement provider that the student will not be left unsupervised in such environments.
This manual will provide you with a wealth of free work experience documentation for you to deliver a successful work experience programme.
The Importance of Work Experience
The Department for Education (DfE) definition of work experience is “A placement on employer’s premises in which a student carries out a particular task or duty, or range of tasks or duties, more or less as would an employee, but with an emphasis on the learning aspects of the experience.” Work experience gives young people the opportunity for involvement in a workplace, helping them to understand how the world of work operates and how it differs to school. It also gives businesses the opportunity to raise their profile in the local area and to be involved in developing the workforce of the future.
From September 2013 work experience forms an integral part of the 16-19 study programmes in England and Wales. The post-16 funding reforms announced in July 2012 have changed the way funding is allocated and this will allow schools and colleges greater freedom and flexibility to expand work experience as part of post-16 provision. As well as students undertaking work experience in year 10, schools and colleges will be expected to offer their students high quality and meaningful work experience as part of their 16-19 study programme to give students a valuable experience of the work environment and develop their employability skills.
Setting up Work Experience
Adopting a structured approach will help to ensure that a work experience programme operates efficiently and each young person gains the most from their placement. The five stages set out in this manual ensure that everything runs smoothly: